Medicare annual open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Anyone turning 65 or already enrolled can meet with a certified Medicare benefits counselor to review options and benefits.

Bend, Ore., Oct. 8, 2019 – The Council on Aging of Central Oregon is providing free counseling about Medicare options to support older adults in navigating the annual open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. The one-on-one sessions are provided by Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) certified volunteers and assist older adults in understanding their options for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans.

“Medicare can be a confusing program, whether you are just turning 65 and need to enroll, or want to review your current coverage and prescription plans,” said Council on Aging Executive Director Susan Rotella. “Understanding your Medicare benefits is an essential component of staying physically and financially healthy during the aging process, and our team of certified volunteers is happy to work with our older adult neighbors to get the right coverage for their needs.”

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 years or older, or younger than 65 with Social Security Disability Income. Medicare covers many medical costs, including visits to the doctor, prescription medications, and preventive care, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes treatment, and blood pressure screenings. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage (MA) or a prescription drug plan (Part D) must be completed by Dec. 7 for coverage to begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2020.

To schedule an appointment for Medicare counseling, call the Council on Aging’s SHIBA line at (541) 678-5483, extension 211. Appointments are available in both English and Spanish. Callers will be asked to leave a message, which will be returned by a certified SHIBA counselor, usually by the end of the next business day.

Asistencia con Medicare y consegeria de SHIBA en español están disponibles llamando al 541-325-6837 o al 541-382-4366.

For updates, news, and resources for older adults and their unpaid caregivers in Central Oregon, follow the Council on Aging’s Facebook page at or visit


About Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA)

SHIBA provides free health insurance counseling to explain how the Medicare program works, additional insurance options that work with Medicare, and assistance with reducing out-of-pocket costs. SHIBA staff members, along with more than 200 certified counselors, serve many of Oregon’s more than 860,000 Medicare beneficiaries, so they can understand their Medicare benefits and enrollment options.

About the Council on Aging of Central Oregon

Since 1975, the Council on Aging has served as the designated Area Agency on Aging for Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties, offering adults aged 60 and older and their loved ones a range of support services. A nonprofit organization, the Council on Aging advocates for, empowers and guides older adults and their loved ones to live with independence and well-being in age-friendly communities — places where infrastructure, policies and practices are developed to make the community livable, accessible and responsive to the needs of people of all ages, especially older adults.

Phone: (541) 678-5483

Media Contact
Emily Burnham
Strategic Communications and Public Relations Manager
Council on Aging of Central Oregon
(541) 678-5483