COPY-Illinois Medicare counseling program recognized

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois program that helps seniors navigate the Medicare program has received recognition from the federal government.

The state's Senior Health Insurance Program ranks among the top five programs in the nation for its one-on-one contacts with seniors in suburbs, mid-size cities, small towns and rural areas. It ranks in the top 10 for reaching certain groups with limited ability to speak English.

The program, called SHIP for short, is a free statewide counseling service for Medicare recipients and their caregivers. It's sponsored by the Illinois Department of Insurance.

SHIP Director Sandy Leith (LEETH') says the recognition comes in part because the program is doing a better job at recording its contacts with seniors.

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