~Due to lack of capacity, we’re not currently placing new SHIBA volunteers. Email email@example.com to sign up for the waiting list to be notified when opportunities open up!~
Provide free, unbiased information about health care coverage and access to help improve the lives of all Washington state residents.
The Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) provides free, unbiased information about Medicare coverage and access to help improve the lives of all Washington state residents. We cultivate community commitment through partnership, service, and volunteering. Solid Ground is King County, Washington’s SHIBA sponsor in partnership with the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
SHIBA volunteers work to empower, educate, and assist Medicare-eligible people, their families, and caregivers through objective outreach, counseling, and training to make informed health insurance decisions that optimize access to care and benefits. SHIBA volunteers work to educate and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, error and abuse through outreach, counseling and education.
Medicare Counselors typically volunteer a minimum of 5 hours/week or 20 hours/month. We ask for a minimum of 1 year commitment for a Medicare Counselor role. New volunteers can expect a minimum of 3 hours/week or ~12 hours/month when in training for Medicare Counselor position.
Medicare Counselor volunteers typically increase their volunteer hours during Medicare Open Enrollment (Oct 15 – Dec 7th) to accommodate the demand in referral calls.
Other roles, like Public Presenters, Fraud Specialist, Outreach Volunteers, and Administrative Assistants contribute a minimum of 5 hours/month. Schedules are flexible. We work with each volunteer to determine the number of hours volunteered each month, and to schedule assignments accordingly.
- Willingness and ability to work with people from a variety of racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds, with various lifestyles, sexual orientations, and of all ages.
- Good oral and written communication skills.
- Active listening and problem-solving skills.
- Ability and willingness to learn and share information related to health care benefits, which includes preventing, detecting, and reporting health care fraud, errors, and abuse.
- Ability to explain Medicare coverage, program rules, and procedures in terms that beneficiaries can understand.
- Ability to request assistance as needed.
- Ability to use a computer, use outlook Email and use the internet for research.
- Ability to use Microsoft Office programs, like Microsoft Teams (or willingness to learn!)
- Ability to use a telephone to make outbound calls.
- Ability to provide professional and confidential assistance.
- Ability to research and make appropriate referrals to partner agencies.
* Certain technological equipment can be provided.
Training and Certification
This varies for each role. The Counselor, Fraud Specialist, and Public Presenter roles include:
- In addition to a Solid Ground volunteer application, those interested in the SHIBA program need to complete an additional SHIBA volunteer application.
- Complete a background check issued by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
- Complete online SHIBA basic training (8 hours training taken over two days). Basic Training is recommended but not required for Outreach or Administrative/data entry roles.
- Medicare Counselors, Fraud Specialists, and Public Presenters must all successfully pass the open book certification exam.
- Participate in training alongside another SHIBA volunteer or staff member before being approved as ready to counsel Medicare beneficiaries. Training will be ~12 hrs/month for 3 – 6 months.
- All SHIBA volunteers must attend a 2 hour monthly Medicare training hosted virtually by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (at least 8 of the 9 trainings must be attended) per year.
Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting you!
We ask all volunteers to please use this self-screening tool before every in-person training or volunteer session to keep yourself and others safe:
Solid Ground believes poverty is solvable. Volunteers play a critical role in helping us meet basic needs, nurture success, and spread change – so everyone in our community can achieve their full potential. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) and people with lived experience with poverty are encouraged to volunteer.