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Health Benefits Counseling (The SHINE Program)

The SHINE Program


The SHINE Program provides free health insurance information, counseling, and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers and is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with Minuteman Senior Services and is partially funded by the federal Administration for Community Living.

SHINE counselors are extensively trained and re-certified annually by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. Services are available to Massachusetts residents for assistance with Medicare Parts A&B, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Medicare Part D), Medicare Supplement Plans, MassHealth and various assistance programs for people with limited resources. Counselors are hosted at Councils on Aging and other community settings.  Most counselors are volunteers.


SHINE counselors can:

  • Help Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers navigate the complex health insurance options.
  • Simplify the language and explain how the components work.
  • Review current coverage; compare costs and benefits of options available.
  • Assist those with limited resources enroll in helpful programs.

For more information about this program, Just Contact Us!

Volunteer Spotlight

SHINE Regional Program Director Elizabeth Killeen and SHINE Volunteer Judy Minardi

SHINE Regional Director Elizabeth Killeen and SHINE Volunteer Judy Minardi

“To select the best plan for their circumstance, people need help understanding what Medicare does and doesn’t cover, the difference between a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan, enrollment periods and late enrollment penalties, and income and asset cutoffs for the “extra help” programs. Much of this information is state-specific so it is not available on the Medicare or Social Security web sites or through the call centers.”  -Judy Minardi

In Judy’s hometown of Winchester, the number of people receiving assistance through SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) has more than doubled in the past 4 years, and her time onsite at the Jenks Center makes access to this valuable service easier.  Judy is one of Minuteman’s 45 dedicated SHINE volunteer counselors who complete 60 hours of training each year so that they can help people navigate the complex maze of health care insurance. Our counselors are on site in senior centers and senior housing throughout the area, assisting approximately 4300 people in the Minuteman area in FY2016. But funding for this valuable program is in jeopardy. Click here for more information and to see how you can help.