Some Medicare recipients are having trouble scheduling an appointment with a SHIIP counselor this year. Appointments at the local sites filled quickly. This may mean that some of your friends and family who have questions about their Medicare coverage won’t have time to meet with someone before the open enrollment period closes on Dec. 7.

SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) counselors are volunteers, and this season there haven’t been enough of them to go around. Volunteers eventually retire or move elsewhere. The result is a need in Dallas County for new help.

You don’t have to be an expert on Medicare, finances, or medical terms to become a SHIIP counselor. Training is provided so you will be comfortable in the position. The qualifications SHIIP looks for are people with an ability to listen and problem solve, with organizational skills, and an ability to keep information confidential. It isn’t necessary for SHIIP counselors to be Medicare recipients — anyone over age 21 may volunteer.

Please consider becoming a SHIIP volunteer counselor so everyone who needs help next year can get in for an appointment during the open enrollment period, mid-October to early December. A volunteer application is available at