Let Hawaii SHIP serve as a beacon of knowledge to guide you through the changing tides of Medicare

The SHIP logo was updated in 2017 to feature an illustration of the Makapuu lighthouse and light rays to reflect the assistance the program offers to its clients. The rays of light radiating from the lighthouse represent knowledge and a call to action for the clients of the program.


The mission of the State Health Insurance Assistance Program is to empower, educate, and assist Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers through objective outreach, counseling, and training to make informed health insurance decisions that optimize access to care and benefits.

Hawaii SHIP, State Health Insurance Assistance Program, is federally funded by the Administration for Community Living and administered by the Hawaii Department of Health, Executive Office on Aging. Our Medicare-certified counselors provide free, unbiased, local, one-on-one Medicare counseling to beneficiaries, their loved ones, caregivers, and soon-to-be retirees. We also offer free, virtual presentations on Medicare-related topics and participate in health fairs and exhibitions for older adults and people with disabilities.

2021 Quick figures

  • Medicare Population in Hawaii: 278,077
  • Hawaii SHIP volunteers statewide: 88


Number of clients helped by Hawaii SHIP in 2021

  • Clients counseled: 2,930
  • Clients assisted through outreach presentations, fairs/ exhibits: 7,701
  • Clients assisted on Hawaii Island and Kauai: 103
  • Clients who speak English as a second language: 16


History of Hawaii SHIP

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) was created under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. The law authorized the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer grants to states to establish and maintain health insurance advisory service programs for Medicare beneficiaries. There is a SHIP in every state and in four territories: District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Grant funds support educational, counseling, and assistance activities related to Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance options.

The program was transferred from CMS to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. This transfer reflects the existing formal and informal collaborations between the SHIPs and the networks that ACL serves. ACL’s Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling manages the SHIP grant.

The Executive Office on Aging (EOA), an attached agency to the Hawaii Department of Health, received the first SHIP grant in 1992. The program was originally called Sage PLUS. EOA is the designated lead agency in the coordination of a statewide system of aging and caregiver support services in the State of Hawaii, as authorized by federal and state laws.

Free, local, one-on-one medicare counseling

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