- Medicare Part D
- Become a Registered
- Medicare Resources
- Medigap Plan Information
The California Department of Aging’s Medicare Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) provides personalized counseling, community education and outreach events as the primary local source for free and unbiased, accurate and objective Medicare information, advocacy and technical assistance to beneficiaries.
California HICAP is part of a national network of State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs (SHIP). SHIP is a Federal grant program that helps States enhance and support a network of local programs, staff, and volunteers. Local programs are charged with directly helping beneficiaries to understand the complexities of their Medicare benefits including Prescription Drug Plan coverage, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental policies, Medicare Savings Programs, and long term care insurance. The Administration for Community Living administers the SHIP grant programs nationally.
North Bay HICAP has their administrative office in Petaluma with local counseling sites spread throughout the 6 counties we serve of Sonoma, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Solano. HICAP provides free community educational seminars and local unbiased 1-On-1 counseling by appointment. Registered volunteer Counselors are trained to explain the technical complexities of Medicare and assist with topics such as understanding Prescription Drug plans, Advantage plans, Supplemental Medigap insurance products and claim appeals. If you are considering purchasing long-term care insurance, counselors can help you compare options and explain details to be considered. Our goal is to ensure a solid understanding so you can make informed decisions.
Individual Counseling Services
HICAP registered counselors provide Unbiased and Free 1-On-1 assistance in the following areas:
- Understanding Medicare benefits
- Evaluating options to supplement Medicare
- Review and appeal assistance of claim denials
- Understanding long-term care options
- Rights as a Medicare beneficiary
- Understanding Extra Help for Medication costs and other Medicare Savings Programs
- Assisting with provider communication and coordination of benefits
HICAP counselors will not:
- Charge for any service
- Sell any product
- Make any decisions for the individual
Community Educational Presentations
HICAP offers the following educational presentations at key locations in the communities we serve:
- Medicare Fundamentals – This comprehensive 2 hour seminar is for those who want a solid and detailed understanding of Medicare. It is beneficial for those new to Medicare or beneficiaries who want a detailed refresher. Attendees receive a packet of valuable reference materials and a solid foundational understanding for years to come.
- Understanding Your Medicare – This is structured for beneficiaries who already have Medicare but want to understand some of the more detailed and in depth parts of their healthcare. It’s a 1.5 hour presentation with additional time allocated for questions and answers.
- Medicare Annual Changes and Choices – During the Oct.15-Dec.7 Annual Enrollment Period, we hold this presentation in many locations with the topic focused on new changes to Part D and Advantage Plans that take effect in the new year. There is a lot to understand and as a truly unbiased source, beneficiaries will learn about all their options so they can make informed decisions.
- Medicare Fraud Prevention – Trained HICAP staff serve as liaison' for Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). This presentation provides education on the many ways we can protect our benefits and prevent fraud. When people suspect Medicare fraud, they call our office after which details are forwarded to SMP for investigation and prosecution.