What is HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program)?

HICAP, the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program, was established by the California Department of Aging in 1984. The program is designed to provide Medicare beneficiaries and persons 60 years of age and older with assistance in dealing with Medicare, HMOs, long-term care insurance, and other health insurance issues. Senior Advocacy Services - HICAP office assists people living or moving to Lake, Mendocino, Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties.

The success of the HICAP program is achieved through responsible, committed volunteers who want to help others. HICAP's staff and volunteers receive extensive training, both initially, as well as subsequent training workshops. Once a volunteer counselor has completed the necessary hours to counsel, they are registered with the California Department of Aging. All services are provided free of charge.

HICAP provides two main services--individual counseling and community education presentations, as follows:

HICAP Individual Counseling Services
HICAP relies heavily on its volunteer counselors to provide individual assistance by helping people to:

  • Understand Medicare benefits;
  • Evaluate options to supplement Medicare;
  • Develop a system to organize their medical bills;
  • Review and appeal claim denials;
  • Explore long-term care options;
  • Clarify their rights as a health care consumer.

HICAP counselors can provide individuals with:

  • Help with evaluating policies;
  • Assist with enrollment in Extra Help for Medication costs and other Medicare Savings Programs;
  • Assist with  provider  communication and coordination of benefits;
  • Help with medical record keeping;
  • Provide individuals with the information needed to make informed decisions.

HICAP counselors will not:

  • Charge for any service;
  • Sell any product;
  • Make any decisions for the individual.

Call today to schedule an appointment.

What To Bring To Your Appointment

  •     Your Medicare card.
  •     Any other health insurance or prescription drug plan cards.
  •     List of your prescription medications (including the strength and dosage). Your pharmacist can usually print this for you.
  •     Information on your income and assets such as Social Security statements, pay stubs, or bank statements.
  •     Any other related mail you received from Medi-Cal, Social Security, Medicare, or your employer.


Community Education Presentations
HICAP offers community education presentations that can be specially designed to fit the needs of the group, or a general topic to serve the community at large. In addition to the presentation, HICAP will supply information packets, and will to allow for a sufficient question and answer period.

The following topics can be covered individually or in any combination. HICAP counselors can help you understand:

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
  • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans: HMO, PPO, PFFS, SNP plans)
  • Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)
  • Employer Group Health Plans (EGHP)
  • Medicare Supplement plans (Medigaps)
  • Claim Denials and Appeals
  • Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance
  • Medicare Video

Call today to schedule a presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare Benefits

If you would like to learn about Medicare and supplemental health insurance plans and provide an important service for Seniors then contact us about our training and opportunities for volunteer HICAP counselors. We especially need bilingual volunteers. Call Ken Palinkas - HICAP Program Manager 1-800-434-0222.