SARASOTA, FL – Seniors and adults with disabilities who have concerns about Medicare and other health insurance options can receive free insurance counseling at several new locations. SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) counselors are now providing free, unbiased health insurance counseling at Goodwill Manasota community rooms at four locations in Sarasota County.
Offered locally through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL), SHINE empowers Medicare beneficiaries, their caregivers, and family members to make informed decisions about health care coverage. SHINE is a volunteer program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and part of the national State Health Insurance Assistance Program network.
The SHINE counseling sessions are available at the following Goodwill locations from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursdays: Goodwill Selby (1781 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota) the first Thursday of each month; Goodwill Honore (1740 N. Honore Ave., Sarasota) the second Thursday of each month; Goodwill Mecca (5150 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota) the third Thursday of each month; and Goodwill University (8490 Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota) the fourth Thursday of each month. Sessions are by appointment only; to request an appointment with a SHINE counselor, please call the Elder Helpline at (866) 413-5337.
SHINE counselors assist clients with Medicare, Medicaid, prescription assistance, and long-term care insurance. SHINE counselors can help seniors and adults with disabilities find programs which may lower their prescription drug costs, provide prescription drugs at no cost, or help with Medicare co-pays and deductibles. As part of the national Senior Medicare Patrol program, SHINE counselors also educate beneficiaries to protect, detect, and report potential errors, fraud, and abuse with their Medicare coverage. Last year in Southwest Florida alone, SHINE assisted 10,000 people with counseling services.
By partnering with organizations like Goodwill Manasota, AAASWFL is able to assist more Medicare beneficiaries in our region. Goodwill is able to host these sessions through its Good Neighbor program, which was launched more than 20 years ago to provide community meeting places, free of charge. Goodwill has expanded the program over the years to offer numerous free, instructor-led classes on a variety of topics and volunteer-directed activities, providing a place where local residents can enrich their lives through educational, cultural and social programs. Goodwill Manasota is able to provide these free classes and services to the community thanks to the sales of donated goods.
“Given the demographics of our region, Goodwill feels it is very important to provide extra support and services for area seniors,” said Goodwill Manasota vice president Margie Genter. “We are pleased to partner with organizations such as ITN Suncoast, AARP and now AAASWFL in an effort to provide transportation, activities and programs, and information that will help our region’s seniors to lead more active, healthy, and financially secure lives.”
To make an appointment at any of the Goodwill Manasota sites, or to receive assistance by phone, call the AAASWFL’s toll-free Elder Helpline at (866) 413-5337 (866-41-ELDER). Additional counseling sites can be found on the SHINE website: www.floridashine.org.
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.
The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization celebrating its 40th year of serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, and Sarasota Counties. AAASWFL is the state’s designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Southwest Florida. The organization is committed to connecting adults ages 60 and over and adults with disabilities to resources and assistance for living safetly with independence and dignity. More information is available at www.aaaswfl.org or by calling the toll-free Helpline at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER).