Great River Health Systems volunteers are trained to help Iowans enroll in or make changes to their Medicare plans. The state’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is a free, confidential service that provides unbiased information to help people make decisions about Medicare and other health coverage. People should enroll in Medicare as soon as they turn 65. They can make changes to their drug plan during the annual enrollment period from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Appointments are available weekdays in the Volunteer Services office on the lower level of Eastman Plaza, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays at Great River Clinic in Wapello. The telephone number is 319-768-3342.

SHIIP counselors help clients:

  • Enroll in and understand Medicare
  • Enroll in and understand Medicare supplements, including Part D prescription drug coverage
  • Sign up for Social Security benefits
  • Qualify for free and reduced drug plans from pharmaceutical companies
  • Qualify for low-income assistance from Medicare and Medicaid

In 2015, Great River Health Systems’ SHIIP volunteers helped 1,024 people, who saved $254,000 in Medicare-related expenses. Most of the savings were related to choosing the right prescription drug plan.