Health Insurance (SHINE)

Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders (SHINE)

This program provides free health insurance information, assistance, and counseling to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages and their caregivers. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs supports the SHINE program in partnership with elder service agencies and Councils on Aging. SHINE is partially funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Mission of SHINE

The SHINE Program ensures that healthcare consumers have a competent, committed, and compassionate consumer-focused network of staff and volunteers who provide accurate and objective information through innovative community programs at the state and local levels.

SHINE Counselors

SHINE counselors are dedicated community volunteers who are trained and certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to explain many areas of health insurance including Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), prescription drug programs, MassHealth (Medicaid), and other health care assistance programs.

SHINE counselors help seniors and all Medicare beneficiaries understand their rights and benefits under Medicare and their other health insurance coverage. Counselors also review present coverage, provide written benefits comparisons, prevent consumers from buying unnecessary or duplicate coverage, and help prepare health benefit claim forms, appeals, and applications.

Additional Information

All information is kept strictly confidential. If you have questions concerning health insurance, Medicare, Medigap, Medicaid, etc., call the Regional SHINE program at AgeSpan (formerly Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore).


The BCOA has in person appointments available twice a month. You can schedule an in person appointment at the BCOA by calling us at 978-671-0916 or you can contact AgeSpan at 978-946-1374 to reach a SHINE counselor.  You will need to leave a voicemail with your name, the city or town in which you live and a number where you can be reached during the day.  A SHINE Counselor will call you back. If you need immediate assistance, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE.