Skilled volunteers ready to offer seniors free and unbiased assistance with Medicare questions
Seniors looking for free, skilled counseling on their Medicare benefits can access the expertise of more than 40 trained ElderSource SHINE volunteers. The SHINE volunteers – Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders – are a well-trained, dedicated group of individuals committed to helping older adults make informed decisions on their health care coverage. A dozen volunteers were recently certified and added to the SHINE Team.
National statistics indicate that 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States. With this milestone, seniors are eligible to tap into Medicare benefits. SHINE volunteers help seniors understand Medicare benefits, file appeals, choose prescription drug plans, and answer questions about Medigap and long-term care insurance options.
Volunteers are available to help seniors in all seven counties of the ElderSource service area – Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia counties. Last year, alone, SHINE volunteers racked up over 12,500 client contacts.
“Our new and seasoned volunteers are ready and willing to help seniors understand their Medicare benefits,” said Carrie Gonzalez, SHINE Liaison. “They are a great team.”
Newly-certified SHINE volunteer Bill Platko, understands the struggles of applying for Medicare without much guidance. Prior to becoming a SHINE volunteer he applied for Medicare on his own and experienced how complex it can be.
“Knowing what I went through doing Medicare on my own, I’m now glad to use what I know and my experience to help others,” said Platko. “Because the information can be overwhelming, making decisions about Medicare coverage can be difficult.”
Platko also expressed his surprise that not enough people know about SHINE as a resource. “There are a lot of seniors who aren’t aware of resources like SHINE and it’s sad when they aren’t taking advantage of what’s available to them for free.”