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.
Roles & Time Commitment
Medicare Counselors typically volunteer a minimum of ~20 hours/month. We ask for a minimum two-year commitment for a Medicare Counselor role.
Medicare Counselor volunteers typically increase their volunteer hours during Medicare Open Enrollment (Oct 15 – Dec 7th) to accommodate the demand in referral calls.
- 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 and Outlook (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 & Certification
- 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 through Zoom).
- Medicare Counselors must successfully pass the open book certification exam.
- Participate in training alongside another SHIBA volunteers or staff members before being approved as ready to counsel Medicare beneficiaries. Training will be about 12 hours per 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.