Skip to main content

TARCOG News & Headlines

Read on for recent happenings, announcements, and notable headlines from TARCOG and its communities throughout the region.

SHIP saving TARCOG Seniors >$2.5 million

There are 2,749 people in the TARCOG region collectively saving more than $2.5 million this year on their Medicare insurance premiums thanks to the Alabama State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

“This program is especially important because seniors have the opportunity to get their medicine free or at a cheaper rate than they might otherwise have to pay for it,” said TARCOG SHIP Resource Specialist Teresa Hazzard. “The SHIP program provides seniors with hope. Hope that they can afford medicine and still be able to get groceries and other household items with the extra monies that the SHIP program has allowed them to save.”

Open Enrollment for Medicare programs that are in place this year began last year on Oct. 15, and ended on Dec. 7. The TARCOG team responsible for answering questions and helping all TARCOG clients includes:

  • Teresa, who works out of TARCOG’s headquarters in Huntsville, and Kathryn Kestner from Studio 60 Senior Center in Huntsville in Madison County.
  • Veronica Woodall in Jackson County; Lynn Hixon and Emily McCamy in DeKalb County.
  • Tammy McElroy, Susan Bishop and Kennedy Cooper in Marshall County.
  • Carla Sims, Helen Carter and Madison Herron in Limestone County.

The specialists are responsible for answering questions and helping all TARCOG clients in their respective counties. They are also among the certified counselors and volunteers throughout the state who are committed to helping Medicare beneficiaries make informed choices regarding health benefits at no charge to Medicare recipients.

Together, the TARCOG team met or talked with 2,749 seniors during the 2023 Open Enrollment period. The total savings for those clients during 2024 will amount to $2,558,151.58.

SHIP counselors and volunteers are committed to helping participants make informed choices regarding health insurance benefits and options for ages 65 and older. One of the biggest areas of concern for seniors is finding the Medicare prescription drug plan best fits their needs. Teresa said it often changes from year to year, depending on the medications a person is taking.

“I love what I do because the joy in the voices of the seniors when they are told that their medicine will be free or greatly reduced is priceless,” Teresa said. “The savings allows our clients to be able to pay other bills as well as purchase food.”

Additionally, clients were counseled with information that would allow them to make decisions regarding their Medicare in the future.

What’s important to know about the Alabama SHIP program through TARCOG, is that the counselors are not affiliated with an insurance company and will not attempt to sell insurance to Medicare beneficiaries, like the places consumers call in response to TV commercials featuring famous people like Joe Namath, Jimmy “JJ” Walker, William Shatner, and George Foreman.