SHINE Program

What is the SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone) Program?

The SHINE Program provides free health insurance information, counseling, and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers. SHINE is a State Health Insurance Program partially funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

What is a SHINE Counselor?

A SHINE Counselor is trained and certified by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide information and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries with questions about:

  • Medicare
  • Medicare Advantage Plans (HMO and PPO)
  • Medicare Supplements (Medigap)
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
  • Medicaid/MassHealth
  • Prescription Advantage
  • Other Health Insurance Options

A SHINE Counselor can help compare the costs and benefits of Medicare and other health insurance options and help with enrollment into the program. A SHINE Counselor can also help beneficiaries with limited income and resources enroll in programs that help pay health insurance costs.

SHINE Counseling is free of charge and all information is kept confidential.

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. 

October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs. Coverage will become effective on January 1st of the following year if changes are made during Open Enrollment.

During the month of September, all plans are required to send an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) to their members which includes information about any changes for the upcoming new year. People in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their plans send them, like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and ANOC. 

If their plans are changing, they should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for the following year. If they’re satisfied that their current plans will meet their needs for next year and it’s still being offered, they don’t need to do anything.

SHINE Medicare and YouTube Videos

SHINE Massachusetts YouTube Channel

For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact the Westfield Council On Aging, (413) 562-6435.