Medicare open enrollment ends December 7, meaning that Americans just about a month left to select new Medicare plans or choose to stay with current coverage.

The full enrollment period lasts seven full weeks, and it began on Oct. 15. During this year’s Medicare open-enrollment period the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services and the state’s Area Agencies on Aging will offer free one-on-one assistance and community presentations to help Georgians make decisions about Medicare health and prescription drug plans.

GeorgiaCares, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), offers personalized assistance through a toll-free help line at 866-55AGING (866-552-4464). Consumers may also compare plans at or call 800-Medicare (800-633-4227).

“Specialists in the GeorgiaCares program are trained to provide well-researched, unbiased information about Medicare health insurance coverage, prescription drugs, and Medicare supplements,” said Dr. James J. Bulot, DHS’ Director of Aging Services. “They can also help consumers discover whether they may be eligible for help in paying for Medicare.”

People with Medicare can create personalized coverage solutions from options such as Original Medicare, “Part D” prescription drug-help plans, and comprehensive “Part C” Medicare Advantage plans. Plan details may change, so beneficiaries should carefully review their current coverage annually.

GeorgiaCares SHIP counselors also assist with filling out applications for “Extra Help,” which covers costs associated with Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-payments for financially eligible individuals. Online applications are available at or through the Social Security hotline at 800-772-1213 (TTY: 800-325-0778).

For more information about GeorgiaCares and other services available to older Georgians and their families, visit the DHS Division of Aging Services at or call (866) 55-AGING (552-4464).

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