Every single day in the United States, 10,000 seniors become eligible for Medicare. Most seniors depend on Medicare for all or part of their health insurance coverage. They choose from a dizzying array of plans with varying costs and coverage levels– including 20 prescription plans and nearly as many Medicare Advantage plans. Comparing options and choosing the right plan can be difficult, time-consuming, and downright confusing.
That’s where SHINE comes to the rescue. SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) provides free, unbiased, and personalized assistance to elders as they navigate the medicare maze. Last year in Florida, more than 175,000 seniors took advantage of SHINE to choose the right Medicare plan. Many saved thousands of dollars, thanks to the SHINE program and its volunteers.
SHINE isn’t only available in Florida. It’s a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), funded by the Federal government. While the programs may have different names, every state has a SHIP program to help its seniors make those difficult Medicare decisions.
But Federal lawmakers are threatening to eliminate the funding for all State Health Insurance Assistance Programs like SHINE.
What will happen without this vital program?
Seniors would have nowhere to turn for unbiased, one-on-one advice. They would lose advocates who help them understand their benefits, assist with claims and appeals, and answer their questions about issues like long-term care.
For many of the 10,000 Americans who become eligible for Medicare every day, State Health Insurance Assistance Programs like SHINE are a lifeline to education for one of the most important choices they’ll make in their lives.
In Southwest Florida, SHINE is overseen by the Area Agency on Aging. We at AAASWFL are urging you, on behalf of the 4 million seniors that live in Florida, to tell our U.S. Senators to vote to continue funding this vital program. If you’ve personally benefited from SHINE, tell them about your experience.
Together, we can all do our part to keep SHINE’s light burning bright.
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