By Sam Baker - 04/02/12 04:51 PM EDT
The federal Medicare agency awarded nearly $50 million in grants Monday to state offices that help seniors understand Medicare.
The agency will award $46.5 million over the next year to State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs). There are 54 SHIPS in the United States and the territories. The organizations provide one-on-one counseling to seniors about their Medicare benefits.
"The SHIPs provide quality Medicare information to beneficiaries at the local level and help ensure that unbiased one-on-one counseling is provided to those needing access to health insurance and prescription drug coverage,” said Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.