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Help available during Medicare open enrollment

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — People with Medicare coverage can shop for a new prescription drug insurance plan through Dec. 7 and there's free counseling available to help.

Illinois Department of Insurance officials are reminding Medicare beneficiaries that open enrollment season started Monday, meaning they can change to a new drug plan without penalty for a limited time.

The department's Senior Health Insurance Program, or SHIP, provides free counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers.

The SHIP toll-free hotline takes calls weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 800-548-9034.

Also, people with Medicare can use the web-based Medicare Plan Finder to see star ratings and compare the quality of their health and drug plan options.

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