Medicare Open Enrollment for Coverage in 2015
Open Enrollment starts on October 15 and ends on December 7, 2014
New prescription drug and health plan choices are offered every year. You could save money, get better coverage, or both. With the health care law, there are new benefits like lower prescription costs,wellness check-ups, and more preventive care services. If you find that you will need to change your Medicare Advantage plan or stand-alone Prescription Drug plan, you will need to make the changes by December 7, 2014. If your Medicare Advantage plan is being discontinued, you will have more time to select a replacement plan. Check back; information about Medicare Advantage plans will be available here starting in mid-October.
If you live in Contra Costa County and have an HMO — a Medicare Advantage Plan — or a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan, go to our Open Enrollment page for information about having your plan reviewed by a Contra Costa County HICAP counselor.
Welcome to Contra Costa County HICAP
What is HICAP?
HICAP is the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program for those who are eligible for Medicare and who live in California. It is sponsored nationally by Medicare; in California by the State of California Department of Aging; and in Contra Costa County by the County Department of Aging and Adult Services Area Agency on Aging. The HICAP telephone number for HICAP information and inquiries for Contra Costa County residents is 925-602-4163. Learn more about Contra Costa County HICAP
In California HICAP services are available in every county. If you don't live in Contra Costa County, a list of telephone numbers is available for other counties in California.
All other states and several U.S. Territories have similar programs; many of those use the name SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program), others use the name HICAP, and others have their own name for their program. If you don't live in California, go to the Medicare.gov webpage then under Search by Organization select SHIP from the pull-down organization list, select a state, then click the Find Contacts... button to see the list of contact information for the selected state.
HICAP provides free, unbiased information and counseling about Medicare and related health insurance, including long term care insurance. This way you won't have to navigate the huge amount of information by yourself. HICAP also helps with Medicare claims and appeals, helps with referrals for legal assistance for health insurance matters when necessary, and provides information to people who need extra help with the costs of their health care. See our list of counseling locations with phone numbers where you can make an appointment to get one-on-one counseling throughout Contra Costa County.
Counseling is offered by volunteers who receive extensive training and are registered with the State of California Department of Aging, per the Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 9785 (c) Chapter 869, Statutes of 1990. Contra Costa County HICAP also provides community education on Medicare and health related issues.
What should you look for when shopping for health insurance?
- List companies offering Medicare health plans
- Compare companies and their policies
- Get a written outline of coverage from each plan
- Investigate coverage and limits of each policy
- Check eligibility requirements and restrictions
- Compare premiums
- Compare deductibles and copays
- Buy from a reputable agent
- Beware of sales pressure
- Attend a Welcome to Medicare class
- Meet with a HICAP counselor
HICAP provides free and objective counseling to Contra Costa County Medicare beneficiaries and their families who need assistance with Medicare. No products or services are sold or endorsed. Contra Costa HICAP is sponsored by the Administration for Community Living, the California Department of Aging, and the Contra Costa Area Agency on Aging. The contents of this document are solely the responsibility of Contra Costa HICAP and do not necessarily represent the official views of ACL.
Contra Costa County HICAP Home Page Updated 8/27/2014