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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
October 19, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160

Medicare Counselors Recognized for Work on Prescription Benefit Launch


          TRENTON – The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) has honored its volunteer counselors for helping consumers learn about and enroll in the new Medicare Prescription Drug benefit program – also known as Part D.

          “SHIP counselors rose to the enormous challenges posed by the creation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Program,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.  “Thanks to the timely and accurate information and assistance provided by SHIP counselors, 75 percent of New Jersey Medicare beneficiaries -- nearly one million people -- now have drug coverage.”

SHIP is a statewide program created in 1987 and sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services with major funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  It provides free help to New Jersey Medicare beneficiaries who have problems with, or questions about, their health insurance.  Counseling is provided by volunteers trained in the areas of health insurance coverage and benefits affecting Medicare beneficiaries.

          In response to the introduction of the Medicare drug benefit, SHIP counselors in New Jersey recorded more than 18,500 hours of service that included one-on-one counseling sessions, publicized enrollment events and presentations to various clubs and at senior centers and health fairs.

          Approximately 150 of SHIP’s 370 counselors attended yesterday’s recognition event held at the Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Center for Health and Wellness.

A list of SHIP counselors honored yesterday, organized by the counties in which they live and serve, is available on the department’s web site at

          Medicare beneficiaries seeking assistance from SHIP can visit the program’s website at or call the program’s toll-free number at 1-800-792-8820.  Individuals needing one-on-one counseling should call their county coordinator to set up an appointment.  County coordinators can be reached by calling the following agencies:

Atlantic County
Atlantic County
Office of Intergenerational Services
1-609-645-7700 Ext. 4271

Bergen County
Bergen County Div.
of Senior Services

Burlington County
and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
1-609-894-9311 ext. 7498

Camden County
Camden Co. Div. of Senior and Disabled Services

Cape May County
Cape May Co. Dept. on Aging

Cumberland County
Cumberland Co. Office on Aging & Disabled
1-856-453-8066 Ext. 28

Essex County
Newark Day Center

Gloucester County
and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

Hudson County
Hudson County
Office on Aging

Hunterdon County
Hunterdon County Division of Senior Services
1-908-788-1361 or 1362

Mercer County
Community Education, Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Center for Health and Wellness

Middlesex County
Middlesex Department on Aging

Monmouth County
Family & Children’s Services

Morris County

Ocean County
Office of Senior Services
1-732-929-2091 or 1-800-668-4899

Passaic County
Passaic County
Dept. of Senior Services, Disability and Veterans' Affairs

Salem County
Salem County
Office on Aging

Somerset County
Somerset Co. Office on Aging
1-908-704-6319 Ext. 29

Sussex County
Sussex County
Office on Aging

1-973-579-0555 Ext. 1223

Union County

Warren County
Warren County
Division of Senior Services

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