SHINE is a state-wide program that offers free counseling to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers about health insurance options and prescription drug coverage plans. The SHINE letters stand for Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders.
Its mission is to provide accurate, objective information through a competent, compassionate, consumer-focused network of volunteers.
SHINE counselors are volunteers trained and certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to help seniors and their caregivers understand their benefits and rights under Medicare, supplemental health insurance and prescription drug plans. They review current client coverage to help prevent consumers from purchasing unnecessary or duplicate coverage. They can provide written benefits comparisons, assist in preparing applications and help with benefit claim forms and appeals.
Call the Weston Council on Aging at 781-786-6280 to request an appointment with a SHINE counselor.
Medicare: Free Preventive Services
As part of the Affordable Care Act (health care reform), Medicare expanded the number of free preventive services available. These services are free whether you have traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, like an HMO.
Preventive services include:
Colorectal cancer screening (including colonoscopies)
Pap tests and pelvic exams
Bone mass measurements
Flu and pneumonia shots
Additional annual services at no cost are: alcohol misuse screening and counseling, cardiovascular screening, depression screening, and obesity screening and counseling.
For a complete list of free preventive services, go to the www.medicare.gov or contact the COA for an appointment with a SHINE counselor. You can also call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636), then press or say 3. Once you get the SHINE answering machine, leave your name and number. A volunteer will call you back as soon as possible.