image of barnstable county courthouse

Enhancing Seniors’ Lives on Cape Cod with the SHINE Program

Open enrollment is Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, and state-certified SHINE counselors are available at your local senior center by appointment to help you understand health care coverage, review cost increases, and find out what’s new with Medicare.

Kristina M Whiton-O’Brien – SHINE Program Manager

Under the oversight of Barnstable County’s Department of Human Services, the regional SHINE Program plays a vital role in providing support within the local community. Operating under the acronym SHINE, which stands for “Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone,” this initiative serves as a state health insurance assistance program, presenting a suite of essential services. These services encompass the dissemination of no-cost health insurance information, proficient counseling, and comprehensive assistance. SHINE’s primary focus is directed towards offering aid to individuals in Massachusetts who are recipients of Medicare benefits, alongside their dedicated caregivers.

In a recent episode of the Cranberry Scoop, Kristina Whiton-O’Brien, the SHINE Program Manager, provides insights into this impactful program.

Kristina Whiton-O’Brien, SHINE Program Manager discusses the program on a recent episode of the Cranberry Scoop.

Understanding SHINE: Navigating Health Insurance with Expert Guidance

When it comes to health insurance, especially for seniors and their caregivers, having the right information can make all the difference. Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE) program is a Massachusetts initiative aimed at providing free and impartial health insurance guidance, counseling, and assistance to those with Medicare. Whether you’re a Medicare beneficiary or a caregiver, SHINE is here to assist you every step of the way. The program is made possible through funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), as well as from Barnstable County.

Deciphering the Role of a SHINE Counselor: Expertise at Your Service

A SHINE Counselor isn’t just a volunteer; they’re a beacon of knowledge and understanding in the complex realm of health insurance. These volunteers undergo rigorous training. Their expertise spans across the spectrum of options available to Medicare beneficiaries: from Parts A, B, and D to Medicare Advantage, supplements, and Medigaps. Additionally, SHINE Counselors are well-versed in public assistance programs such as Prescription Advantage, MassHealth, and Extra Help.

Empowering Choices: How SHINE Counselors Make a Difference

Navigating the intricacies of the health insurance system can be overwhelming, but with a SHINE Counselor by your side, it becomes a manageable journey. These dedicated professionals are skilled at simplifying complex information into everyday language, ensuring that you grasp the nuances of your choices. Need to compare costs and benefits? They’ve got you covered. Want to enroll in a health insurance program tailored to your needs? They’re there to guide you through the process. Moreover, for those with limited resources, SHINE Counselors can facilitate enrollment in programs designed to alleviate health insurance costs.

Accessing SHINE Services: Your Path to Informed Health Insurance Decisions

To connect with a SHINE Counselor, reaching out is just a step away. Simply contact your local Council on Aging or get in touch with the Regional SHINE Program through phone at 508-375-6762 or via email at Empower yourself with the insights and assistance you deserve for a brighter, healthier future.

Common questions for SHINE Counselors

  • What do Medicare Parts A & B pay for?
  • When should I enroll?
  • How do I avoid late penalties?
  • What is Medigap insurance?
  • What is a Medicare Advantage plan?
  • Is Medicare Advantage right for me?
  • Which Part D plan covers my drugs?
  • Can I get help paying Medicare costs?
  • Do I qualify for MassHealth?
  • Why did I get a bill?
  • How do I appeal a Medicare denial?
  • Why wasn’t my drug paid for?
  • Will Medicare pay for a nursing home stay?