AGING SERVICES: The CHOICES program announces its 2016 training opportunities.

CHOICES Volunteer Information

Want to make a difference in the lives of Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers? Become a Certified CHOICES Counselor!

What is CHOICES?

CHOICES, Connecticut’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is part of a national network of programs that offer free confidential counseling, education and assistance to people with Medicare and their caregivers.
Listen to Working Together with WCAAA. One of CT's Area Agencies on Aging talks about what CHOICES does and how to become a volunteer. 
Hosted by Dawn Macary, featuring CHOICES Regional Coordinator Magaly Bravo and volunteer Amanda Halle.
Who should become a Certified CHOICES Counselor?

Individuals who would like to make a positive difference in the lives of Medicare beneficiaries (older adults and persons with disabilities) and their caregivers. By volunteering with CHOICES, you can become an integral member of the growing effort to educate the community about Medicare and other programs that can help beneficiaries with their out of pocket medical costs. Certified CHOICES Counselors help beneficiaries understand their healthcare options so they can make informed decisions about their healthcare coverage. Certified CHOICES Counselors are individuals who have good listening skills, as well as, computer and internet skills. If you are interested in becoming a Certified CHOICES Counselor, your first step is to attend the CHOICES New Counselor Training. 

What do you need to do?

Every year, each Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in the State of CT offers one CHOICES New Counselor Training in their local area. Contact the CHOICES Regional Coordinator at your local Area Agency on Aging for more information and how to obtain the CHOICES volunteer application and attend the training. 

Applicants will participate in:
  • An orientation session
  • Five full day of training sessions
To become certified:
  • Pass the online CHOICES certification exam
  • Sign the CHOICES Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 
  • Background check, if applicable
How volunteers maintain certification and are supported:
  • Each volunteer has a direct connection with a CHOICES Regional Coordinator who will provide you with the most current and accurate Medicare related information needed to support you as a CHOICES counselor.
  • Report into the SHIP National Performance Reporting system
  • Attend CHOICES Quarterly Update Trainings
  • Every two years take an online certification exam and sign the MOU

What you will learn?

CHOICES New Counselor Trainings are provided through a partnership between the State Department on Aging, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the five CT Area Agencies on Aging with funding in whole or in part through a grant from the Administration for Community Living. 

CHOICES New Counselor and Update Trainings include topics and issues related to Medicare such as:
  • Medicare Parts  A, B, C & D
  • Medigap (Medicare supplemental insurance)
  • Medicaid (Title 19)
  • Medicare Savings Programs
  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Abuse Detection and Prevention 
  • Enrollment and Disenrollment Information
  • Medicare Rights
  • Counselor Skills
How much does the CHOICES New Counselor Training Cost?

The training is free for volunteers. A $125 fee is required for paid professionals. 
Insurance agents, brokers and financial planners are not eligible to take the training.

CHOICES New Counselor Trainings

Here are a few ways certified CHOICES counselors make a difference:
  • Western CT Area Agency on Aging Crier April 2017
  • Area Agency on Aging of South Central CT AOASCC News and NotesMay 2017
  • Southwestern CT Area Agency on Aging CHOICES Counselors help Medicare beneficiaries save money during Medicare Open Enrollment.

For additional information about the CHOICES program please contact Akia Dieuseul, CHOICES Statewide Coordinator, at (860) 424-5286 or  

Content Last Modified on 6/2/2017 11:43:05 AM