Thursday, February 5, 2015

Volunteer Opportunity

Are you looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity? Becoming a SHINE volunteer may be a good choice for you. SHINE stands for "Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders", a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, where volunteers are committed to helping others make informed choices regarding Medicare insurance benefits. 

What is it like being a SHINE volunteer? Here is the story of a SHINE Volunteer Couple, Joe and Miriam: 

Joe writes:

"What do you think of when I say Part A, Part B, Part D, Medigap, or Advantage Plan? For many of us, Medicare comes to mind, but in some cases confusion sets in.  About a year ago, I spotted a newspaper article which highlighted a program called SHINE that was seeking volunteers to assist Medicare clients with their choices.

So I convinced my wife, Miriam, that we may as well start understanding the program before we need to enroll, which usually occurs as we approach the age of 65. So I called, and soon after we began training.

It is important to note that counselors are not affiliated with any insurance company, and will not try to sell insurance, and all counseling records are strictly confidential. Since we have passed the training requirements, we now counsel individuals via telephone or face-to-face regarding Medicare enrollment and health plan choices.

We normally perform this volunteer service once a week either from home or at the Dunedin Library. By volunteering with SHINE, we have accomplished two goals: a much better understanding of the Medicare Program and helping those in need – which is what I suspect many, if not all of us, seek to do on a daily basis.

For many of you Medicare may be far off, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it. That said, I’ll leave you with two thoughts: one, consider becoming a SHINE counselor and two, if you have Medicare questions – take advantage of the free SHINE counseling services by calling 1-800-96-ELDER. Miriam and I are always willing to answer any questions you may have and encourage you to consider joining us as volunteer SHINE counselors.."

For Pasco County residents, there is an upcoming training program beginning on February 17th for individuals interested in volunteering with the SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Program. Transportation costs are reimbursed and meals are furnished.  Visit for an online application and then contact Sue Samson @ 727/570-9696 x234.

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