Open enrollment for Medicare plans runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. AARP Massachusetts wants to make sure Medicare beneficiaries and their families know how to choose a plan that will best meet their needs in 2014.

About 1 million Bay Staters rely on Medicare for doctor visits, hospital care and prescription drugs. For free help choosing a plan, call SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) at 800-243-4636. Or contact your local council on aging or senior center.

For two free AARP guides, Understanding Medicare and The Health Care Law and Medicare, go to aarp.org/ma or call toll-free 866-448-3621.

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