Tag Archives: counselors

Counseling Awareness Month

Counseling Awareness Month

It’s Counseling Awareness Month, and you may not realize all the different areas of your life where counseling might be able to help you.

What you probably think of when you think of counseling is mental health therapy, which can help you handle anxiety, stress, depression, and relationship issues.

Mental Health Counseling


Career counseling can help you with your job search, whether you’re a college student, job searching, or just a professional looking to set new goals and develop your skills.

Career Counseling and Planning


Child and adolescent counselors help kids work through life changes and stresses from school, family, or peer relationships, like divorce or bullying.

Counseling for Children


Grief counselors can help you deal with loss, like deaths, terminal illness, divorces, or other bereavements. They can help you work through these emotions in a safe and healing space.

School counselors help students in their personal and academic development. They can help them pursue academic goals like college or give students support with any issues they’re experiencing.

School Counseling for Students


Rehab counseling helps people with disabilities work through their issues and implement solutions, which could mean helping with job development or developing goals based on their situation and abilities.

Rehab Counseling & Disabilities


Substance abuse counselors help people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction set recovery plans and goals and work through the stages of recovery.

Substance Abuse Counseling and Recovery


If you’re a Health Alliance member, you can search for therapists and counselors covered by your plan.

Finding Medicare During the Annual Enrollment Period

Vantage Point: The Season for Informed Choices

It’s October, and folks living in North Central Washington are looking forward to beautiful fall colors and freshly picked apples. For those on Medicare, it’s also the start of the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), when beneficiaries can shop for their 2016 coverage. It runs October 15 to December 7. But because of confusing plan changes and choices, some dread the AEP rather than looking forward to it.

But there are people who can help make these decisions easier. A trusted resource for Medicare eligibility throughout the year is the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program. The SHIBA program was formed to help consumers understand Medicare and their options for supplementing it. SHIBA counselors keep client information 100% confidential, and their main mission is to help clients see Medicare plan comparisons so that the client can choose using unbiased and accurate information.

At educational presentations in the past, I’d learned a lot from Dick Anderson, a certified SHIBA counselor, and recently had the pleasure of meeting with him one-on-one. Hearing Dick describe some of his stories captured what a valuable service he and other advisors provide. Counseling to help others by these trained volunteers truly comes from the heart.

Dick says there’s no Medicare plan that’s right for everyone, so instead he tries to get his clients to talk about their individual needs. This helps him determine what’s most important to them, so they can make a measured choice that meets their personal needs.

The rewards for this work are illustrated by Dick’s powerful stories of people from all different backgrounds, incomes, and educational levels who have come to him heavy with feelings of helplessness and confusion and after meeting with him, left with their cloud of anxiety lifted.

At Health Alliance, we strive to have quality, sustainable Medicare plans, but we agree with Dick that there’s no perfect plan for every person’s needs. Therefore, we value and respect the work SHIBA volunteers do to help people make informed choices.

For current Health Alliance members, we’re holding special meetings the first week of October in Wenatchee, Moses Lake, and Omak about our 2016 benefits and to answer any questions.

If you want to meet with a SHIBA counselor, you can make an appointment by calling Community Choice at 1-888-452-0731 or Aging and Adult Care at 509-886-0700.


Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four adult sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.