Free counseling assistance is available locally through Dec. 7 for Medicare-eligible residents and their caregivers during the Medicare Open Enrollment period.

During open enrollment, eligible adults can adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage, move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan – or vice versa, switch between Medicare Advantage plans, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty.

Because these can be overwhelming and confusing decisions, assistance is available to help clients find the closest State of Illinois Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office, where they can schedule appointments to get help with open enrollment.

Those offices are at the following area locations:

  • Catholic Charities of Macoupin County, 525 W. Second South St., Carlinville – 217-854-4511, ext. 207
  • Illinois Valley Economic Development, 223 S. Macoupin St., Gillespie – 217-839-4431
  • Maple Street Clinic, 109 E. Maple St., Gillespie – 217-839-4142
  • Prairie Council on Aging, 223 S. Macoupin St., Gillespie – 217-839-4431
  • Montgomery County Health Department, 11191 Illinois Route 185, Hillsboro – 217-532-2001
  • Catholic Charities of Decatur, 239 W. Prairie St., Decatur – 217-428-3458
  • CHELP, 1429 W. Jasper St., Decatur – 217-422-9888
  • Decatur-Macon County Senior Center, 1430 N. 22nd St., Decatur – 217-429-1239
  • Macon County Health Department – Starting Point, 1221 E. Condit St., Decatur – 217-423-6550
  • Central Counties Health Center, 2239 E. Cook St., Springfield – 217-788-2373
  • CEFS Economic Opportunity Corp., 311 S. Main St., Taylorville – 217-824-4712
  • Senior Citizens of Christian County, 701 W. Adams St., Taylorville – 217-824-4263

SHIP counselors work through the system to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. Residents can contact SHIP by calling 800-252-8966 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, including a complete list of SHIP locations, visit

To compare 2019 drug and health plans or to find out more about Medicare options, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at Medicare customer service representatives are available around the clock at 800-633-4227.

SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company, and counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. SHIP counselors in the field help seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare understand the options available to them. They also educate and answer questions about Medicare plans and options.

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Springfield Office:
119A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0228

Decatur Office:
Macon County Office Building
141 S. Main St., Suite 502
Decatur, IL 62523
Phone: (217) 429-8110

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115 N. Washington, P.O. Box 636
Bunker Hill, IL 62014
Phone: (618) 585-4848