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Shepherd’s Center Is Mecklenburg County’s Only Coordinating Site for SHIIP Services

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (November 6, 2023) — Right now there’s no more pressing item on “to-do” lists for older adults nationwide than making their Medicare choices for 2024. Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, known as the “Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan annual election period” or “AEP,” ends December 7, 2023. Fortunately, there’s exceptional help in Mecklenburg County for those new to Medicare or revisiting past choices. The Shepherd’s Center Charlotte (SCC) makes it easy to get free expert counseling to make the right decisions for your own situation.

SCC counseling is offered under the Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), a consumer information division of North Carolina Department of Insurance. Trained SCC volunteers can help answer questions about Medicare, Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage Plans, and long-term care insurance. They are experts at explaining how Medicare works, what’s covered, and what to do next. Just make an appointment by phone and get unbiased information in simple-to-understand language.

A Big Change for 2024

By making an appointment to talk with an SCC counselor about Medicare choices now, you’ll learn about changes that could greatly impact your 2024 costs. For example, the 2023 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) eliminates the previous Catastrophic Coverage coinsurance.  You’ll also learn that all insulins covered under Part D care capped at $35, and that there is no copayment for vaccinations such as Shingrix for shingles, hepatitis B administered to non-high-risk people, DTaP and RSV.

Drug Plans Change from Year to Year

“When people have a drug plan, or even when they are on Medicare Advantage and have a drug plan, they are only locked into a set premium for one year,” SCC Counselor Leslie Aronovitz said. “At that point, the company offering their drug plan could do several things: 1) discontinue their drug plan, so it is no longer being offered next year, 2) hike up the premiums from what people are paying this year, or 3) change the drugs that are on their formulary. That means that a drug that was covered very well this year, all of a sudden, is not going to be covered very well next year, meaning it will be much more expensive.” Meeting with a Shepherd’s Center counselor helps anyone on Medicare stay on top of these yearly fluctuations.

How to sign up for a SHIIP counseling appointment

SCC SHIIP Program Coordinator Alissa Celek said there are more than a dozen sites with appointments for SHIIP Medicare counseling meetings. For example, Southminster, an SCC collaborator, has meetings right on their campus. Other sites include: Covenant Presbyterian Church, Eastway Regional Recreation Center, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Levine Jewish Community Center, Levine Senior Center, Matthews Glen, Northern Regional Recreation Center, Saint John's Baptist Church, Steele Creek Library, Sunrise on Providence, The Ivey Brain Health & Memory Wellness Center, The Sharon at Southpark and Tyvola Senior Center.

Get an appointment at the location nearest you by contacting the Shepherd’s Center at 704-365-1995, or via email at

What to bring to your appointment

Bring a list of the drugs you take, doses in milligrams and how often you take them. Make sure to bring non-pill prescriptions too such as dermatological creams. The best thing is to take a picture of the package with your phone, so your counselor can see what size product you are buying. Don’t forget your eye drops, an important prescription. Over-the-counter drugs don’t apply.

One thing you DON’T have to bring is your spouse, if they are on Medicare. One spouse can bring all the information for the other spouse. Aronovitz is more than glad to do it for both, as long as she has permission from the absent spouse.

To receive a SHIIP consultation, call the Shepherd’s Center at 704-365-1995 or email

About SHIIP 

​The Shepherd's Center has trained volunteers available to discuss and explain Medicare, Medicare Supplements, Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage through SHIIP, Senior Health Insurance Information Program. Medicare plays a key role in providing health and financial security, covering many basic health services, including hospital stays, physician services, and prescription drugs.

About Southminster

A leader in the field of aging, Southminster is a non-profit, charitable Life Plan Community, providing innovative living solutions to aging across a full continuum of care.  Dedicated to overall well-being, Southminster embraces living life with purpose by valuing independence and privacy, inspiring creative passions, encouraging lifelong learning, and motivating each individual’s plan for wellness to its highest potential.  For more information on Southminster, please visit

About The Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte

As a nonprofit interfaith organization, Shepherd's Center of Charlotte originated in response to a need to redefine and restructure the way aging is approached. Located in and serving members of Mecklenburg County, Shepherd’s Charlotte continues to offer a variety of programs, ranging from social activities to transportation to Medicare consulting.

About Southminster and The Shepherd Center’s Collaboration

In 2022, complementary skill sets led the two organizations to strengthen their collaboration in order to increase social connections, expand access to critical resources, and combat the negative effects of isolation older adults inevitably encounter in an increasingly mobile society. As part of its expanded philanthropic vision, Southminster committed to providing The Shepherd's Center with direct financial support to assist them in expanding their mission.


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