Finding answers to the Medicare questions

Do you have questions about Medicare or your health insurance? There is help available.

The Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP) provides you and your loved ones with information and counseling about Medicare and other health insurance. Trained staff and volunteers will answer your questions. The services provided by HIICAP counselors are free and objective. To obtain assistance just call NYConnects at (716) 753-4582.

It can be difficult to understand all of the Medicare rules and your medical bills.

These HIICAP Counselors are here to assist you in choosing between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans including health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs) Private fee-for-service (PFFs) and special needs plans. They are knowledgeable about Medicare prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D) and can help you select the best plan based on your specific needs.

HIICAP can help you find ways to pay for your medications or medical equipment. This program can help you understand and apply for low-income subsidy programs such as Extra Help, the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) and the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program. They can help you figure out ways to fill in Medicare gaps.

This assistance is available throughout the year and not just during open enrollment. Jan. 1 to March 31 is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. During this time beneficiaries on a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without Part D) can switch to either another Medicare Advantage Plan or to Original Medicare. These changes will take effect the first of the following month. Special Enrollment Periods also allow individuals an opportunity to change plans when a significant life event occurs and HIICAP counselors can meet with you to access if your event may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

When challenges occur with coverage HIICAP Counselors can assist with filing an appeal to a decision by Medicare, your managed care provider or other health insurance company. They are able to report possible Medicare fraud or abuses and can assist with filing a Medicare or Medigap complaint. It is important to remember assistance is available when your coverage is not sufficient or the process to attain care is overwhelming.

If you would like to learn more about all of the ways that the Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program can assist you please call NYConnects at (716) 753-4582.


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