What Can California HICAP Do For You?

August 2, 2010

When you need help with Medicare, assistance in sorting out health insurance providers, or need to learn how to appeal Medicare decisions that are not in your favor, where do you turn? The already-confusing Medicare system might seem even more complicated now that the Affordable Care Act has made its way through Congress.

If you are feeling like a ship lost at sea, the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) can help.

What is California's SHIP?

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program is dedicated to helping families in all 50 states understand the intricacies of Medicare and insurance issues. The SHIP network is funded by federal grants and largely staffed by volunteers who are trained to help you find the information you need to take care of your health.

What is HICAP?

The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program offers free individual counseling about health care issues and Medicare. With an office in every California county and a toll-free number, HICAP makes it easy to find out what you need to know.
Administered by the California Department of Aging, HICAP is staffed with trained volunteers who can help you with many subjects, including:

  • Medicare rights and benefits
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)
  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • How to appeal denials of Medicare coverage
  • Medi-Cal, or the low-income help program
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Employee and retiree coverage
  • Legal help and representation at Medicare appeals or administrative hearings

HICAP also offers educational opportunities on Medicare and related topics. You can obtain a schedule of educational events in your area by calling the HICAP hotline.

The volunteers at HICAP never endorse, recommend, or sell any insurance product, insurance agent, health plan, or insurance company. Their advice is designed to benefit only you--no one else!

What California Health Advocates Can Do For You

California Health Advocates supports the mission of HICAP by providing valuable services, including a website for further information and educational materials, such as fact sheets and podcasts in both English and Spanish.

Easy navigation through the website can lead you to information on everything from prescription drug coverage to long-term care insurance. This is where you can clear up the confusion about Medicare Part D, understand Medigap choices, and even learn how to spot and report Medicare fraud. The CHA blog offers valuable up-to-date information on new policies you need to know about, as well as in-depth explanations on how those policies affect you.

How to Get Help

Contact HICAP at no charge by dialing 1-800-434-0222. You can also go online to the California Health Advocates website to find the location of your closest HICAP office. If you can't visit the HICAP office because you are home-bound or lack transportation, a representative will be happy to come to you.

California Health Advocates is dedicated to public policy research, advocacy for those in the Medicare program, and education of both consumer and professionals on both the benefits and challenges of the Medicare system. CHA and HICAP are there to serve you, so don't hesitate to take advantage of everything they have to offer!

Shannon Dauphin

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