SHINE provides FREE unbiased health insurance counseling information and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare, their caregivers and those approaching Medicare eligibility.
Statewide, there are more than 600 certified volunteer counselors trained to assist residents with Medicare.
To find a local counselor in a city or town near you click here or call 1-800-243-4636, option 3.
SHINE is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elders Affairs under a grant from the Administration for Community Living. The SHINE Program partners with Council on Aging, Elder and Disability Service providers and other public and private community-based organizations
All our 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). We 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.
Recently the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) — the agency that oversees the Medicare program —announced that they finished the rollout of new Medicare cards to 61 million people with Medicare ahead of the original deadline of April, 2019. This means that all people with Medicare should now have Medicare cards that include a random Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) instead of a number based on their Social Security number.
CMS started issuing the new Medicare cards on a rolling basis in April of 2018 in an effort to combat identity theft and other fraud, and to comply with recent legislation. Those who enrolled in Medicare after this process began should have received the new style of card when they first joined.
If anyone with Medicare has not received a card with the new MBI, they should immediately contact 1-800-MEDICARE, log into their MyMedicare.gov account, or ask their health care provider for assistance.
People with Medicare should keep their new cards safe and treat it like a credit card. This means not sharing the information on it with anyone except doctors, pharmacists, health care providers, insurers, and people they trust to work with Medicare on their behalf. Once they have received the new cards, people with Medicare should no longer use the old cards but should destroy them, to ensure their Social Security numbers are kept as safe as possible. Beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage will continue to use their plan-issued card at the time of service, but should keep their new Medicare card in a safe place.
People with Health Connector coverage nearing Medicare eligibility face many obligations – to enroll in Medicare in a timely way, to notify their Connector plan about their Medicare eligibility, and to cancel their Connector plan. Despite these responsibilities, people with Connector plans may disregard notice about their Medicare eligibility unless they are auto-enrolled in Medicare because they receive Social Security cash benefits. In addition, Connector enrollees receive no notification that their access to premium tax credits automatically terminates when they become Medicare eligible.
Disregarding your Medicare eligibility while staying enrolled in a Health Connector plan can lead to a delay in Medicare enrollment. Honest enrollment mistakes can lead to lifetime premium penalties, gaps in coverage, disruptions in access to needed care, tax penalties and recovery, by the IRS resulting from the loss of premium tax credits and delayed Medicare enrollment. To avoid these consequences, it is imperative that Health Connector members who are eligible for Medicare enroll in Medicare in a timely way, notify their Connector plan about their Medicare eligibility, and cancel their Connector plan.
As always feel free to contact your local SHINE Regional Office at
1-800-243-4636 #3 if you have any questions.
Host Ed Roth of the Central Mass Shine Program speaks with special guests Cindy Philips: SHINE Program State Director and Lucilia Prates: Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Director regarding Healthcare Fraud.
Please send us a message if you have any questions.
Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday - Sunday: Closed