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Be Part of SHIIP–SMP


Understanding Medicare and related health insurance can be confusing and overwhelming. To help, Iowans turn to volunteer SHIIP–SMP Counselors. 

Who makes a good counselor? If you are someone who enjoys tackling new challenges, likes learning new information, gains satisfaction from helping people, has good computer skills, can work with diverse populations, and can be an objective and trusted source of information, this may be great fit for you. Watch this video to learn more.

SHIIP- SMP provides excellent training and resources to assure SHIIP- SMP volunteers are prepared and have the tools they need for counseling and community education.

Apply now using our Online Application.

What role do volunteers play in the program?

SHIIP–SMP volunteers are an integral part in helping Iowans make informed decisions and access resources to address their Medicare and other healthcare insurance needs. Each year they assist tens of thousands of Iowans understand their Medicare benefits and options and fight Medicare fraud and abuse through individual counseling sessions, community education, special projects and making connections in their communities.

What impact do they have in their community?

You know your community best. That’s why we want your help to support your friends and neighbors as they enroll in Medicare for the first time, review plan options, or troubleshoot problems. Local community organizations and health care facilities partner with SHIIP-SMP to host trained volunteers at sponsor sites across Iowa.

“[The benefit of being a SHIIP counselor is] the feeling of genuinely contributing to your fellow citizens and community.” –D Ruhl

What SHIIP-SMP Volunteer Roles are available?

SHIIP–SMP has counselor and office assistant volunteer roles available at more than 120 sites across the state of Iowa. These roles can provide opportunities for conducting one-on-one counseling, speaking to groups, or providing office support. Click the link below to view available positions and apply.

Learn About SHIIP-SMP Counselor Volunteer Opportunities

What Makes a Good Counselor?

We’re looking for people who:

  • Can be a trusted and objective source of information.
  • Enjoy tackling new challenges.
  • Like to learn complex subject matter.
  • Gain personal satisfaction from helping clients navigate the challenges of understanding Medicare.
  • Can work with diverse populations.
  • Have good computer skills and are internet savvy.

Charles Reese is a longtime SHIP counselor. Watch the video below to learn more

"When I talk to people and I can save them $100 here or $100 there, I can feel them smiling; I can feel them feeling better about life. I think that's very important."

What is required to be a SHIIP–SMP Counselor?

To assure SHIIP–SMP counselors are proficient and have the information and tools they need to provide counseling and community outreach, volunteers are required to:

  • Complete new volunteer training.
  • Attend update trainings annually.
  • Assist a minimum number of clients throughout the year.
  • Complete online subject matter reviews annually.

So volunteers can proceed with confidence during counseling and educational sessions, SHIIP–SMP provides excellent resources including a dedicated 800# line for volunteer questions that is answered by staff, print resources, and regularly updated information.

Learn about SHIIP-SMP Office Assistant Opportunities

Volunteer Office Assistants also play a critical role in provision of services. Key responsibilities for this role include:

  • Assisting with the creation of new online accounts.
  • Entering prescription drugs from clients into Plan Finder at, including calling the client or pharmacy to verify accuracy of the drug list.
  • Assisting with copying, mailing and other site office assistance.
  • As needed, screening client calls for service and scheduling counseling appointments.