SHIIP: A Challenging Volunteer Opportunity That Pays in Gratitude.

— Written By
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

SHIIP, or the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, provides free, unbiased information to those who qualify for or are receiving Medicare. SHIIP was founded by the North Carolina Department of Insurance and is now available in every state. The Transylvania County SHIIP program is housed in the N.C. Cooperative Extension offices in the Community Services Building.

In 2023, SHIIP volunteers served 397 Medicare beneficiaries and saved Transylvania residents over $136,202 in health care costs and insurance premiums. What a remarkable feat for six volunteers. Currently, SHIIP operates with four volunteers, and is looking for new recruits who are up to the challenge.

Why choose to be a SHIIP volunteer and why would volunteering with SHIIP be more fulfilling than with another organization? Transylvania County SHIIP volunteers provide some answers.

Andy Stratton, who started 10 years ago after his retirement states, “I had lots of free time after my busy career in business consulting, and there is only so much fly fishing and golfing a person can do.” His background includes business skills with problem-solving and communicating complex legal and financial concepts so his clients could make informed decisions. Andy says, “SHIIP has allowed me to use these abilities to help people navigate a complex and confusing set of decisions, and their gratitude is ample compensation for my time. Also, there is always something new to learn and fellow volunteers to learn from—it helps keep the mind sharp. Finally, the time commitment is flexible, and unlike some other volunteer activities I can set my own schedule.”

Elaine Deppe, the previous SHIIP Coordinator, weighs in about how she started volunteering. “I went to learn more about choosing a Medicare plan when I was nearing the age of 65 and [was so impressed with this services] that I took the training to become a SHIIP volunteer. I’ve been a volunteer for 15 years now.”

In regard to what made her stay 15 years she stated, “SHIIP is fulfilling for me because I can stay current with any of the changes in the Medicare that occur each year. I also enjoy keeping my computer skills current, determining my own schedule, talking with and teaching others about Medicare and researching answers to questions. Each beneficiary has different circumstances, different financial needs and different desires. It is a challenging volunteer opportunity and keeps me stimulated. It is not routine by any means.”  Elaine who has a history working as a nurse, does everything she possibly can to meet the needs of clients. She was recently named the Transylvanian of the Month and SHIIP is just one of the many reasons why.

Training to become a SHIIP volunteer, begins with a series of training modules provided by the NC Department of Insurance which covers the Medicare basics. Then each year volunteers attend four quarterly trainings, virtually or in person so that they can feel confident speaking to clients in the community. Medicare keeps changing. By keeping up to date volunteers always can provide the latest information to help Medicare recipients continue to make the best choices. The training is thorough, but the changes never stop with Medicare, a reason why the current volunteers keep counseling! As Andy says, “It’s what keeps us in business.”

If you are up for the challenge of being a SHIIP volunteer or would like more information on the program, call SHIIP Coordinator Erin Massey at the Transylvania County Cooperative Extension at 828-884-3109.