Information & Assistance

Information, Assistance, and Referral (I & A) is a service that helps individuals, families, and communities identify, understand, and effectively use the programs that comprise the human service delivery system.
I & A counselors provide comprehensive and current local resource information on issues and the availability of services such as:

  • Social and Health Services
  • Crisis and/or Emergency Intervention
  • Utility Assistance
  • Adult Protective Services
  • Grief and Loss Issues
  • Mental Health Counseling
Happy senior woman with daughter

SHIP | Medicare

State Health and Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

The Montana State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a free health-benefits counseling and advocacy service for Medicare beneficiaries and their families or caregivers. Our mission is to educate, advocate FOR, counsel and empower people to make informed benefit decisions.

  • Objective, Independent plan comparisons, and application for Part D
  • Advantage plan comparisons and enrollment
  • Supplemental Insurance guidance
  • New To Medicare information
  • Assistance with suspected Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse (SMP)
    ***Apply online at SSA.gov or call the Missoula Social Security office at 1-866-931-9029

SHIP Counselors are trained in Medicare benefits and options and have no affiliation with any insurance company. A SHIP Counselor has the ability to guide you in your healthcare choices and empower you to make the best decisions possible for your long-term healthcare coverage. If you are homebound, local SHIP Counselors will meet with you in your home to provide assistance. The program is provided free of charge and is available by contacting Kati or calling the office at 406-363-5690.

***SHIP Counselors assist with guidance only for Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap policies). You must contact an independent insurance agent if you desire to purchase supplemental coverage.

Below are some informative links for Medicare and Medicaid

Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)

Montana SMP: Preventing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse:

Montana SMP staff and volunteers provide education and outreach through presentations and one-on-one counseling. Amber Thompson is our local SMP staff person at the Council on Aging and can help you research billing questions or assist you with understanding and organizing your bills and Medicare Summary Notices (MSN). If a billing error is detected, Montana SMP can assist in correcting it, or in the case of potential fraud and abuse, we will refer you directly to the appropriate agency for investigation.

Senior Medicare Patrol is dedicated to fighting Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse. If you suspect you have been incorrectly charged or see a charge for something you did not receive, contact the Council on Aging for assistance.

Watch Montana SMP’s “Understanding Medicare” video series as a fun way to learn more about SMP:

***Through Montana SMP, senior volunteers help fellow seniors become pro-active consumers identifying potential mistakes, abuse or fraud in medical billing. The volunteers use Montana SMP tools to teach seniors how to understand their Medicare Summary Notices and to compare them with other health care bills to determine any balances owed. Montana SMP volunteers also give presentations in the community to help educate consumers, their families and caregivers about waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system.

The Montana SMP program is statewide and has coverage in over 44 counties in Montana. If you know of any seniors that are having difficulty with their health care bills or are interested in learning more about our program, contact Amber at the Council on Aging office, 406-363-5690. You can also contact the Program Manager, Renee Labrie, based out of Missoula Aging Services, she can be reached at 406-728-7682.

Reverse Annuity Mortgage

The Council on Aging has several RAM counselors available to help seniors understand the Reverse Mortgage process. Many low-income seniors have little or no mortgage debt and might benefit from the additional income a Reverse Annuity Mortgage could provide. The Montana Board of Housing has a RAM program designed specifically for low-income seniors. All loans are originated and serviced by the Montana Board of Housing. This program is open to seniors 68 years or older and the borrower must be an occupant of the home which is unencumbered by a mortgage or other lien. Mobil and manufactured homes are not eligible.

Family annual income limits apply. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Council on Aging or visit the Montana Housing homepage.

Educational Opportunities

STEPPING-ON:

  • The Stepping On program offers older people information, strategies and exercises to reduce falls and increase self-confidence in situations where they are at risk of falling.
  • For current and upcoming dates/times, please contact Cathy  –Corr@ravalliccoa.org

POWERFUL TOOLS FOR CAREGIVERS:

  • Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes help caregivers take better care of themselves while caring for a friend or relative.
  • For more information on what PTC provides check out their website HERE
  • Kati Aiken is the PTC class leader. For upcoming dates, please contact her at kaiken@ravalliccoa.org or 406-363-5690

Housing

For a complete list of affordable senior housing click here.

Options Counseling

Options Counseling can help you and your family plan for the future. We assist seniors, persons with disabilities, caregivers and family members, explore services within their community. These services help you and your family determine the best living situation to meet your needs, whether in-home or in a facility. 

Referrals are related to your particular needs and wishes. Contact Kati for more information.

Loaned my parents with mobility issues equipment for the house. We were able to return everything, so they could be sanitized and given to someone else in need.

John I

Interested in volunteering?
Download an application.