Welcome to Hawaii State Health Insurance Assistance Program
Local Help for People with Medicare

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.

Hawaii 2020 Data on Medicare Beneficiaries

  • 252,309 Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older
  • 23,723 Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65


Number of Clients helped by Hawaii SHIP in 2020

  • 2,773 clients served
  • 616 clients with low incomes
  • 690 clients living in Hawaii and Kauai counties
  • 133 clients who speak English as a second language


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.

Learn More

Hawaii SHIP is federally funded and administered by the Hawaii State Department of Health to serve Medicare beneficiaries, their families, caregivers, and soon-to-be retirees.

This program provides free health insurance information, education, counseling, and referral for people with Medicare. Volunteers are trained and certified to assist members and their families with questions about Medicare benefits including Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D – the prescription drug benefit, Medigap, and Medicare Savings Program.

History of Executive Office on Aging: State and Federal Origins

The State of Hawai‘i has a proud history of being a forerunner in planning and developing programs and services that improve the lives of older adults.
Predating the passage of the federal Older Americans Act in 1965, Hawai‘i established a state agency to address basic concerns, such as adequate housing and meals, while planning for a comprehensive program that would include education, health care, recreation, financial security and employment.

Led by a grassroots group of concerned citizens, community leaders, and legislators, these visionaries laid the groundwork for an infrastructure that would meet and support the future needs of Hawaii’s kupuna.

They knew that Hawaii had a brief time to prepare for the inevitable aging tsunami which has since arrived at our shores.

Chapter 349, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, established the Executive Office on Aging (EOA) as:

the Single State Agency Responsible for Programs Affecting Senior Citizens of this State. As the lead advocate for Hawai‘i seniors, EOA is responsible for setting direction for long-term services and supports for older adults and their caregivers throughout the State.


Hawaii… the Best Place to Grow Older


Optimize the health, safety, and independence of Hawaii’s older persons. We support kupuna and their caregivers through advocacy, planning, development, and coordination of policies, programs, and services.

Core Values

Our Vision for our Kupuna:
Dignity & Respect, Health, Value, Quality of Life, Independence, Meaningful Opportunities, Freedom from Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation.

Free, local, one-on-one medicare counseling