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New SHINE Graduates Are Ready to Help with Medicare Options

picture of Shine graduates facing each other in line, flanked by Lynne Feldman and Lorraine York-EdbergLeft to right: Lynne Feldman, Director of Community Services, LifePath; SHINE Graduate Chris Maguire; Shine Graduate Juan Concepcion; SHINE Graduate Donna Griffin; SHINE Graduate Lynn Hills; SHINE Graduate Sam Fowler; Lorraine York-Edberg, SHINE Regional Program Director.On June 9, 2022, six people celebrated their graduation from the SHINE program, with five attending a luncheon at LifePath’s office in Greenfield. Each graduate received a single rose along with their certificate of graduation. SHINE is an acronym for “Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone.” As newly certified SHINE counselors, these volunteers will work in their own communities to provide free and unbiased health insurance information, education, and assistance services to Medicare beneficiaries and adults with disabilities.

“SHINE volunteers are an essential resource in the community because they offer a clear, objective, and unbiased view of the Medicare marketplace and show beneficiaries all of their health care choices.  They are keenly aware of the important factors that must be considered when choosing any plan, including hospital and provider coverage, prescription drug costs, and plan affordability.  SHINE volunteers also offer free screening for several public benefits programs that can often result in significant savings for consumers.  These dedicated individuals have a strong commitment to protecting beneficiaries and ensuring they are getting the best health coverage available to them for the lowest overall cost,” said Kathy Grant, SHINE Program Assistant Director at the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, who traveled from Boston to attend the event.

SHINE graduate Lynn Hills, GBA, explained, “I chose to become a SHINE counselor because it felt like the next step for me.  In doing Group Employee Benefits for many years, I consistently see the fear and panic in our retirees as they become Medicare eligible.  I am excited to assist them along the way and hopefully take away some of their fear and make the transition as easy as possible.”  

SHINE graduate Juan Concepcion said, “It's not an easy certification process, there is a lot to learn, but at the end it is very rewarding to be able to assist people with the many options that are available to them, with all the Medicare options, and to help them select what would benefit them.”

Lorraine York-Edberg, SHINE Regional Program Director, who provided the intensive 60 hour training, remarked, “This was a great group of dedicated and competent SHINE trainees.  They will be very helpful to Medicare beneficiaries in our service area!”

Both Hills and Concepcion expressed praise for York-Edberg. Hills said, “The training was very organized and Lorraine was so informative and helpful, she made it interesting and fun.  There was definitely a lot more information to learn then I had imagined, but we had a fantastic class with great interaction, which definitely helped me retain more.”

Concepcion added, “I want to express my deepest, sincere gratitude to Lorraine.  She is an excellent trainer—very caring, very sympathetic, and takes her time to make sure you have understood all that has been given to you.  She goes above and beyond.”

If you have questions about Medicare options, you can consult with SHINE counselors over the phone or in person at some senior centers and other locations. To reach a trained and certified counselor in your area, contact the Regional Office at 1-800-498-4232 or 413-773-5555 or contact your local Council on Aging. If you’re interested in becoming a SHINE counselor, contact Lorraine York-Edberg, Western Massachusetts Regional Director of the SHINE Program, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 413-773-5555 x2275 or 978-544-2259 x2275.