What is SHINE | Fact SheetWhat is a SHINE Counselor | How can a SHINE counselor help me | Appointments | Events Common Questions | Publications and Data | News



Are You New to Medicare? 

Below you will find a video link and tip guide to get you started. Feel free to contact the Regional SHINE office with any questions, or to set up a telephonic appointment.

Our number is 508-375-6762.



Medicare & You: Flu Prevention

A one minute video about how annual flu vaccinations and Medicare is involved in the effort to limit the spread of the annual flu viruses. Watch video HERE.


Beware of Misleading Health Insurance Advertisements

SHINE is very aware of advertising that can often be misleading and result in a beneficiary making changes to their health plans that are not the most beneficial.  The state SHINE office produced this video to bring awareness to this advertising.

Medicare Open Enrollment During Covid-19

Since early March, the SHINE Program pivoted from providing face-to-face in-person counseling sessions to providing counseling remotely through phone and email. We strive to consistently provide quality one-to-one, personalized counseling through these new avenues while assuring that privacy and confidentiality is maintained. This change is state wide and will be in effect until further notice.

Medicare’s Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (Medicare Prescription) Open Enrollment Period begins on October 15th and ends December 7th for 2021 plan choices. The Cape and Islands Regional SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) Program will be scheduling telephonic appointments to review the Medicare coverage options for 2021. Starting late September, you can contact your local COA or the Regional SHINE office to schedule a telephonic appointment.

SHINE Counselors are available via telephonic appointments to provide free and unbiased one on one counseling for Medicare beneficiaries, their family members, caregivers and representatives. The Barnstable County Regional SHINE office can be reached at 508-375-6762 or email

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What is SHINE?

The Barnstable County Department of Human Services administers the regional office for the Cape and Islands SHINE Program (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone).

  • Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE) provides free health insurance information, counseling, and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers.
  • SHINE is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with elder service agencies, Councils on Aging, and other public and private community-based organizations.
  • SHINE is a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and is partially funded by the Federal Administration for Community Living.  The Cape and Islands Regional SHINE program is also funded by Barnstable County.
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Fact Sheet

FACT SHEET: Cape and Islands Regional SHINE Program, June 2017

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What is a SHINE Counselor?

A SHINE Volunteer Counselor is trained and certified by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in the various options available to Medicare beneficiaries—including Medicare Parts A & B, Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D), Medigap, Prescription Advantage , MassHealth, and other programs that help people with limited resources pay for health care costs.

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How can a SHINE counselor help me?

  • SHINE Counselors help Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers navigate the complex health insurance system.
  • A SHINE Counselor can explain Medicare options and how Medicare works in everyday language.
  • A SHINE Counselor can help you compare the costs and benefits of Medicare and other health insurance options and help you enroll in a health insurance program that best fits your needs.
  • A SHINE Counselor can help people with limited resources enroll in programs that help pay health insurance costs.
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How to Make an Appointment

SHINE appointments are free, confidential and available throughout the state at local Councils on Aging, senior centers, elder service agencies, hospitals and other community-based agencies.

Contact the Barnstable County Regional SHINE office:
508-362-5885 TTY

Contact the Massachusetts SHINE office:
1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) and option 3

Contact your local site:
SHINE Cape & Islands Brochure 2016

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Common Questions for a SHINE Counselor

  • · What does Medicare pay for?
  • · When should I enroll?
  • · How do I avoid a late enrollment penalty?
  • · Which parts of Medicare do I need?
  • · What is “Medigap” insurance?
  • · What is a Medicare HMO or Medicare Advantage plan?
  • · Is Medicare Advantage right for me?
  • · Which Part D plan will cover my drugs?
  • · Can I get help paying my Medicare costs?
  • · Do I qualify for MassHealth/Medicaid?
  • · Why did I receive a bill after seeing my doctor?
  • · How do I appeal a Medicare denial?
  • · Why wasn’t my drug paid for when I went to the pharmacy?
  • · Will Medicare pay for my nursing home stay?

SHINE Program Logo

ship logo

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Publications and Data

Barnstable County Department of Human Services provides critical documents, resources, and related links relating to substance use. For a repository of synthesized local data in original in-house publications and reports, visit the SHINE Publications and Data web page.

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Latest News


SHINE Open Enrollment – Appointments by Telephone Only

SHINE Open Enrollment – Appointments by Telephone Only

OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR SHINE: October 15, 2020 - December 7, 2020 SHINE Appointments are by TELEPHONE ONLY. We are not conducting in-person appointments at this time. Please CALL the SHINE office at 508-375-6762 or email to set up your...

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The SHINE Program provides FREE unbiased health insurance counseling information and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare. DID YOU KNOW? The Barnstable County SHINE Office is still available for your needs. [su_button...

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