You asked and MEDICARE listened!  You will be getting a new Medicare card! Between April of 2018 and April of 2019, Medicare will be removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards and mailing each person a new card.  This will help keep your information more secure and help protect your identity. You’ll get a new randomly selected Medicare Number that’s unique to you, and it will only be used for your Medicare coverage. The new card won’t change your coverage or benefits.  You’ll get more information when your new card is mailed.  A couple of things to point out. If you change your address be sure to notify Social Security promptly so your new card can be mailed to the correct address.  Also, beware of anyone who contacts you about your new Medicare card, Medicare will not ask you to give them personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card. We will keep you posted on the mailing schedule, as of now Massachusetts beneficiaries will get their new cards sometime after June 2018.

Does Medicare cover fitness programs?

While Original Medicare does not cover gym memberships or fitness programs, some Medicare Advantage (HMO or PPO) plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans do.  Many offer a Fitness Benefit that can save you up to $150 per calendar year in qualified health club membership fees and exercise classes.  Some plans offer the Silver Sneakers program.  Fitness classes available at senior centers may also be eligible for reimbursement. Contact your plan to get information about what fitness benefits it offers.  Make sure you don’t miss the deadline for getting reimbursed for fitness expenses you paid in 2016!


The Central MASS SHINE Program is now sponsoring a monthly Cable TV program called SHINE’s MEDICARE AND MORE”, we hope your local cable channel will pick it up.  This program is designed to educate and update MEDICARE beneficiaries and their families on MEDICARE and other programs that can assist you with your health insurance needs.  If you do not see it on your local cable channel give them a call and ask about it.


The Central Mass Region has recently launched its website.  You can visit us on the web at Our site has valuable general information and links to other agencies that can assist you with you insurance needs.

Trained SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone) volunteers can help you!  They offer free, unbiased, confidential counseling on all aspects of health insurance to anyone on Medicare.  Call your senior center and ask for a SHINE appointment.  You can also call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636), then press or say 3.  Once you get the SHINE answering machine, leave your name and number. A volunteer will call you back.  You can now visit us on the internet at

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