Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders

The SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) Program provides health insurance counseling services to elderly and disabled adults.    SHINE counselors are trained to handle complex questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations, public benefits with health care components, Medicaid, free hospital care, prescription drug assistance programs, drug discount cards, and long-term health insurance.

SHINE Program History
Since 1988, the SHINE Insurance Counseling program has helped over 400,000 Massachusetts residents save money on their health care.  The program is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with hundreds of social service community based organizations.  Additional financial support comes from the federal agency that administers Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal Administration on Aging, and in kind support from more than 400 community-based organizations.

SHINE Counselors
SHINE counselors are committed volunteers and staff who are trained and certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in many areas of health insurance, including:
  • Medicare Part A and Part B
  • Medigap insurance
  • Medicare HMO's
  • Retiree insurance plans
  • Long term care insurance
  • MassHealth ("Medicaid")
  • Medicare's Savings Programs (QMB, SLMB and QI)
  • Prescription drug programs
  • Other insurance programs, including free or reduced-fee health care programs
How Can a SHINE Counselor Help Me?
SHINE counselors help elders and Medicare beneficiaries understand their rights and benefits under Medicare and other health insurance coverage.  Counselors can identify and compare current options and protect clients from paying too much on their medical care.  SHINE Counselors also help clients learn how to fill out insurance claims forms and public benefits applications.

Finding a SHINE Counselor

A SHINE Counselor is available at the Manchester Council on Aging by appointment.  If you need an appointment, please call 978-526-7500.