Anyone turning 65 or already enrolled can meet by phone with a certified Medicare benefits counselor to review options for their 2022 coverage needs.

Bend, Ore., Sept. 28, 2021 – The Council on Aging of Central Oregon is once again providing free Medicare counseling to support older adults in navigating the annual open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. The one-on-one phone sessions are provided by Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) certified volunteers and they help Medicare plan enrollees to reevaluate their coverage – whether it’s Original Medicare with supplemental drug coverage, or Medicare Advantage – and make changes or purchase new policies if they want to do so.

Medicare Open Enrollment

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (as long as you’re enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B, and you live in the Medicare Advantage plan’s service area).
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare (plus a Medicare Part D plan, and possibly a Medigap plan).
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
  • Switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another.
  • Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan if you didn’t enroll when you were first eligible for Medicare.

 “Understanding your Medicare benefits is an essential component of staying physically and financially healthy during the aging process,” said Council on Aging Executive Director Susan Rotella. “Our team of certified Medicare counselors are ready to help tri-county seniors get the right Medicare coverage for their needs.”

Medicare Part D and Part C are open for re-assessment

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 a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or a prescription drug plan (Part D) must be completed by Dec. 7, 2021 for coverage to begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2022.

To schedule an appointment for Medicare counseling, call the Council on Aging at (541) 678-5483, extension 211.  Callers will be asked to leave a message, which will be returned by a certified Medicare counselor, usually by the end of the next business day. Due to continuing COVID-19 safety precautions, all Medicare Counseling appointments again this year will be over the phone only.

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

For updates, news, and resources for seniors and their caregivers in Central Oregon, follow the Council on Aging’s Facebook page 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          

Denise LaBuda

Strategic Communications

Council on Aging of Central Oregon

(541) 678-5483