Compare Medicare Plans by December 7th


Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and the staff of SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, remind Medicare beneficiaries the Medicare Open Enrollment Period is underway and the deadline for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans is Dec. 7th.

There are 24 Part D prescription drug plans available for people to review, compare and choose from in 2018. Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to call SHIIP at 1-855-408-1212 or 1-800-MEDICARE for free and unbiased assistance in choosing a plan that will work well for 2018.

Drug plans vary from year to year, so it is important that Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers annually explore options during the Open Enrollment Period.

Many Medicare beneficiaries who have called the SHIIP office have saved several hundred to several thousand dollars because they changed prescription drug plans. SHIIP staff offer the following tips when choosing a plan to ensure it is right for them:

  • Get one-on-one help from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, by calling 1-855-408-1212, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Visit to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are available in your area and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
  • Review the Medicare & You 2018 handbook that was mailed to Medicare beneficiaries in September.

SHIIP is a division of the Consumer Assistance Group of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and can assist anyone with questions about Medicare coverage. Trained SHIIP counselors are available for one-on-one counseling appointments in all 100 North Carolina counties.

For more information about SHIIP and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, call 1-855-408-1212 or visit

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.