This course is an introduction to the Medicare and Medicaid Health Care Systems. The goal of this course is to provide a basic understanding of how these systems function and recognize how eligible individuals can utilize them to access affordable health care services. We will examine the purpose and function of Medicare and Medicaid, their program vocabulary, the eligibility criteria, the enrollment process, and the specific benefits that each program provides. The course is also designed to develop and enhance the practical counseling and advocacy skills necessary for using this information to serve program clients. By the end of the semester, students will be prepared (and should be confident) to successfully tackle the cases that they are assigned (as counselors with Pennsylvania’s State Health Assistance Program – SHIP), assisting clients with in-depth counseling, and helping them access and utilize available health care benefit programs and services.
The practicum is also designed to provide students with an opportunity to network and interact with local law firms, health care systems (UPMC and Highmark), government agencies (SSA, CMS and DHS) and private non-profit programs. In addition, the SHIP program sponsors several networking events during the spring semester to present the practicum students to these entities and profile their capabilities.