SHINE Medicare Counseling
Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders
If you’ve ever needed to choose a health insurance plan, you understand what a complicated process it can be. SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) counselors help seniors navigate Medicare and make informed decisions about coverage. SHINE offers free, personalized, unbiased, and confidential Medicare counseling for Florida’s Medicare beneficiaries, as well as their families and caregivers.
SHINE counselors are not affiliated with any insurance companies or agencies. They neither sell nor recommend insurance of any type.
The Area Agency on Aging’s network of trained SHINE volunteers are available year-round. These counselors can:
- Offer guidance on important Medicare decisions
- Help evaluate Medicare coverage
- Screen for cost savings programs
- Assist with claims and appeals
In Southwest Florida, nearly 9,500 seniors took advantage of SHINE assistance last year. SHINE counselors are also available to make educational presentations and participate in community events. SHINE is part of the federal SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) network (PDF).
Senior Medicare Patrol
SHINE is also part of the national Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program. The SMP is another federal program devoted to assisting Medicare beneficiaries by helping them to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education.
Find a SHINE Event
SHINE is a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
The AAASWFL Elder Helpline can provide you with more information about SHINE events in your area or assist you with counseling appointments. You can reach the Helpline by calling 866-413-5337.
Thank you, Volunteers!
Our SHINE volunteers assisted nearly 9,500 Southwest Floridians in 2018.
The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida recognizes that some content on this page may not be accessible.
SHIP Resource Center
Did you know that the Medicare and You handbook is now available in a paperless version? Sign up today to get your digital version of Medicare and You.
- Enrolling in Medicare Through the Social Security Administration (PDF)
- Medicare Coverage of Behavioral Health Services (PDF)
- Medicare’s Coverage of Care at Home (PDF).
- Tips on Troubleshooting Medicare Coverage Problems (PDF)
- Which Services Medicare Covers Related to COVID-19 and How to Access Care (PDF)
- How to Get Help with Tour Medicare Costs (PDF).
- Programs That Help People with Their Medicare Costs (PDF). En español haga clic aqui (PDF)
- Moving? What it Means for Your Medicare Coverage (PDF). En español haga clic aqui.
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- Choosing Between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage
You can make changes to your Medicare coverage each year during Fall Open Enrollment, which runs October 15 to December 7. Around September, you will start to receive notices with information about any changes to your coverage for the coming year. Read these notices so you can decide if your coverage will continue to meet your needs or if you should change it. Learn more about these notices (DOC).
When you compare Medicare health or drug plans, there are a few things to consider, including costs, drugs and pharmacies, plan type, and benefits (PDF).
Deciding if and when to enroll in the various parts of Medicare, when you are first eligible, is an important choice. Learn how to make informed Medicare enrollment decisions and avoid penalties or gaps in coverage (PDF).
Have you ever asked yourself, is this preventive service covered at 100% by Medicare? Learn more.
When unexpected challenges or mistakes occur with your Medicare, it is helpful to know where to voice your concerns and who can help (learn more).
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