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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 provide grants to States to fund State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs). In FFY 2013-14, New York State received $2.4 million in Federal funding for the Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP), which is New York State's State Health Insurance Assistance Program. In addition, in FFY 2013-2014 contained an appropriation of $921,000. The HIICAP program is administered locally by the 59 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), which provide comprehensive health insurance information and 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 Part D prescription benefits; Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare supplemental insurance, Medicare Savings Programs and the Low Income Subsidy; long-term care insurance options and other public and private insurance programs. In program year 2012-2013, HIICAP assisted over 142,000 Medicare beneficiaries with questions about their Medicare benefits. This is an increase of over 100,000 contacts since 2006.