Health Insurance Counseling for Senior Citizens and Medicare Beneficiaries

The SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone) program provides free, unbiased health insurance information, assistance and counseling to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages and their caregivers.

SHINE counselors help seniors and all Medicare beneficiaries understand their rights and benefits under Medicare and other health insurance coverage.

Your counselor will:

  • Review your present coverage
  • Provide written benefit comparisons
  • Prevent you from buying unnecessary or duplicate coverage
  • Help in the preparation of health benefit claim forms, appeals and applications
  • Assist you with enrollment per your choice plans
Counselors are dedicated volunteers trained and certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to explain the following areas:

  • Medicare
  • Medigap  insurance
  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Mass Health (Medicaid)
  • Prescription coverage
  • Other health care assistance programs
All information is kept strictly confidential.
Alice Rotfort (Volunteer SHINE Counselor) is here on Tuesdays to assist you with your Medicare, Medicaid and supplemental insurance questions and needs.

Please call the Senior Center to make an appointment.   508/497-9730


How Does Medicare Cover Vaccines?

Medicare covers vaccines differently depending on which vaccine you need.  Some vaccines are covered by Part B, which is your medical coverage.  These include vaccines for the flu, pneumonia, and in some cases Hepatitis B.  Whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, these vaccines will be covered as preventive services at no cost.  Additionally, if you have been exposed to a dangerous disease, your vaccine will be covered, but you may have a copay.  For example, if you step on a rusty nail, a tetanus shot will be covered.

All other vaccines are covered by your Medicare Part D drug coverage.  Both Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans and stand-alone Part D plans must include all commercially available vaccines on their drug formularies, including the vaccine for shingles (herpes zoster).  However, you may pay different amounts depending on where you get vaccinated. Check directly with your plan for coverage rules and costs.
Trained SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone…on Medicare) volunteers can help you!  They offer free, confidential counseling on all aspects of health insurance to anyone on Medicare.  To schedule a SHINE appointment, call the Senior Center.  For other SHINE related matters, 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.