Answers to questions about HICAP
Why is HICAP needed?
Medicare basic and supplemental insurance plans seem and can be very complicated. HICAP provides unbiased information to help you make the best choice for your individual health care needs.
Sometimes mistakes are made by Medicare and insurance companies in approving and denying applications and processing claims. Advertisements for Medicare supplemental health coverage can be misleading or confusing. Applications for medical and drug coverage may be wrongfully denied. It is important to know your rights as a health care consumer. HICAP is here to assist with Medicare related questions and problems.
In Contra Costa County HICAP is sponsored by the Contra Costa County Area Agency on Aging and the California Department of Aging, and is sponsored nationally by CMS, the Center.for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Who does HICAP serve?
Contra Costa County HICAP services are available to all persons 60 years of age and over, and anyone receiving Medicare regardless of their age. Assistance is also provided to family members, caregivers, and friends who are concerned about someone on Medicare. We provide HICAP services to residents of Contra Costa County.
If you are not a resident of Contra Costa County, there are HICAP locations in every county in California.
How can HICAP help you?
HICAP provides confidential one-on-one counseling for Medicare recipients. Home visits for people unable to travel to one of our counseling locations can be arranged. Contra Costa County HICAP clients have access to free translation services for in-person and telephone counseling upon request.
Clients who are homebound can request in-home counseling.
HICAP provides individual counseling to residents of Contra Costa County on:
- Your rights as a health care consumer
- Your Medicare benefits and rights
- Private Medigap (Medicare supplemental) insurance
- Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, PFFS, and MSA health plans
- Medicare prescription drug plans
- Long-term care insurance (at some counseling locations)
- Information about health plan choices and health care rights
- Extra help for those with limited means (Medicare Savings Programs, low-income subsidy, and Medi-Cal)
- Advocacy for denial of medical coverage, medical care, and problems with payments to providers
- Referrals for legal help and representation at Medicare appeals and administrative hearings
- Other resources available in Contra Costa County
- Community education, including Welcome to Medicare classes
What should you bring to a HICAP counseling appointment?
If you have questions or problems with Medicare or your supplementary medical coverage that you have not been able to resolve, contact your local Contra Costa County HICAP counseling site and make an appointment for a confidential in-person counseling session. Here are tips about what to bring with you so the HICAP counselor will better be able to assist you:
- Bring your Medicare and private insurance plan membership cards.
- Bring all documents including Medicare Summary Notice (Explanation of Benefits) forms, all bills from providers, a list of dates when you received treatment, dates of telephone calls you made with phone numbers and the names of the people you spoke with.
- Bring your notes about what was said during conversations with your insurance plan, your providers, and Medicare.
- Bring Evidence of Coverage documents from your insurance plans.