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Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP)

Section 4360 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA) (Public Law 101-508, codified at 42 USC 1395 b-4) authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to make grants to states to fund State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs). In FY 2014-15, New York State received $2.3 million in Federal funding for the Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP). In addition, SFY 2014-2015 contained an appropriation of $921,000. The HIICAP program is administered locally by 59 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) that provide extensive health insurance counseling to Medicare beneficiaries, their caregivers and families.

The HIICAP program seeks to strengthen the abilities of the AAAs to provide health insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries. HIICAP staff and volunteers provide unbiased, comprehensive information that helps Medicare beneficiaries make the most of their Medicare benefits and make educated and informed choices regarding the myriad of complex plans. Local HIICAP programs provide beneficiaries with information on Medicare Part D prescription benefits, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare supplemental insurance, long-term care insurance, Low Income Subsidy and the Medicare Savings Program. In program year 2013-2014, HIICAP assisted over 145,000 Medicare beneficiaries with questions about their insurance. This is an increase of over 100,000 contacts since 2006.