Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE)
SHINE - Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone
SHINE provides free unbiased health insurance counseling information and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare, their caregivers and those approaching Medicare eligibility. Counselors are trained and certified by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and are available to speak with Medicare beneficiaries regarding their Medicare coverage options. These options include Medicare parts A & B, Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and Coverage (Part D) and Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap). Counselors will also review eligibility for Public Assistance programs such as: Prescription Advantage, Extra Help from Social Security, MassHealth and other programs to assist beneficiaries with limited resources to pay for health care costs.
We are fortunate to have a Certified SHINE Counselor on Staff Monday through Friday to answer your Medicare questions. You can contact the center by calling 508-529-4558. If you would like you can call the Regional SHINE office at 508-422-9931.
Are you 65 or older, or eligible for Medicare because of disability? Are you losing your health care coverage from your employer?
If you delayed taking Medicare Part B because you were covered by an employer but may be losing coverage due to layoff or retirement, contact the SHINE Program.
SHINE can answer your questions. You have a window of opportunity to sign up for Medicare Part B if you are losing employer-group health coverage. SHINE counselors can explain the process and the forms that need to be submitted to Social Security. They can also review what your medical and prescription coverage options are beyond Medicare Part A and Part B.
Beneficiaries who have stopped working and are seeking immediate enrollment into Medicare Part B should call their local Social Security Office to initiate the Part B enrollment process. You will need to complete Social Security Form 40B (PDF) and the Request for Employment Verification (PDF) and send them to the local Social Security Office. If you have difficulty getting the Request for Employment Verification Form completed you may attach copies of other documents such as: Pay stubs showing health insurance deductions, W2's reflecting pre tax medical contributions, Health Insurance Cards with an effective date, Explanation of Benefits paid by the Health Plan.
Medicare Open Enrollment is every year from October 15 to December 7th.
For those who are on Medicare and have a Medicare Advantage (HMO/PPO) or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, it is during this time you can make any changes to your coverage for the upcoming year. Any change you make during the open enrollment period will be effective January 1st. In September your current plan is required to mail you an information packet called an: Annual Notice of Change. In this packet, your plan will detail any changes to the plan for the following year. It is important for each individual to review and understand these changes. If you have any questions regarding your options, a SHINE Counselor will be able to assist you.