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Health Information, Counseling, and Advocacy Program (HICAP)

(En Español)

(April 2013)

The Health Information, Counseling, and Advocacy Program (HICAP) helps older Texans and Texans with disabilities by providing information about health care coverage and public benefits.

HICAP is part of a national network of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP). SHIPs in each state work with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help Medicare beneficiaries. The Texas HICAP is a partnership of the

  • Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)
  • Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC)
  • Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS)
  • Texas Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).

Benefits Counselors are Available to Help You

HICAP staff and volunteer benefits counselors in the 28 AAA offices throughout the state provide one-on-one counseling, information, and assistance. Counselors can also help you by

  • providing information about Medicare and Medicaid eligibility, program benefits, and appeal rights
  • explaining your options for Medicare benefits, such as the Medicare prescription drug program (Medicare Part D)
  • helping you use online plan finders and other tools on the Medicare website
  • explaining Medicare supplement insurance policy benefits, exclusions, and coverages
  • providing information about Medicare Advantage plans, such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs), that require you to use network doctors and hospitals
  • providing information about long-term care planning and payment options
  • making referrals to community agencies and services.

All HICAP services are free. Benefits counselors may not recommend any insurance policy or plan. Their role is to provide factual, unbiased information and assistance and to act as advocates when needed.

How to Contact a Benefits Counselor in Your Area

To speak to a benefits counselor in your area, call the DADS toll-free help line at 1-800-252-9240. Your call will be routed to the AAA office nearest you. You may also visit the DADS website at
www.dads.state.tx.us.

Other Resources

For assistance with legal questions about public benefits, such as Medicaid or the Medicare Savings Programs, call the Texas Legal Services Center’s (TLSC) Legal Hotline at 1-800-622-2520 or visit its website at www.tlsc.org.

TLSC’s Health Law Program provides free legal services to low-income Texans with questions about health care issues. Call the Health Law Program at 1-866-979-4343 for more information.

For Medicare eligibility and benefits questions or for a copy of the Medicare & You publication that contains plan information, call Medicare at 1-800-Medicare (633-4227) or 1-877-486-2048 (TTY) or visit its website at www.medicare.gov.

To report suspected Medicare fraud related to health care services or medical equipment and supplies, call the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-888-341-6187.

TDI offers a variety of insurance-related publications and services. The TDI website has an Insurance Resource for Medicare Beneficiaries page with information helpful to seniors.

If you have a complaint against an insurance company or agent, you may file your complaint with TDI several ways:

For More Information or Assistance

For answers to general insurance questions, for information about filing an insurance-related complaint, or to report suspected insurance fraud, call the Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439 or 512-463-6515 in Austin between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Central time, Monday-Friday, or visit our website at www.tdi.texas.gov.

You can also visit HelpInsure.com to help you shop for automobile, homeowners, condo, and renters insurance, and TexasHealthOptions.com to learn more about health care coverage and your options.

For printed copies of consumer publications, call the 24-hour Publications Order Line at 1-800-599-SHOP (7467) or 512-305-7211 in Austin.

To report suspected arson or suspicious activity involving fires, call the State Fire Marshal’s 24-hour Arson Hotline at 1-877-4FIRE45 (434-7345).

HICAP is partially funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It is not affiliated with any insurance company or HMO. The information in this publication is current as of the print date. Changes in laws and agency administrative rules made after the print date may affect the content. Please visit our website for the most current information. TDI distributes this information for educational purposes only. This publication is not an endorsement by TDI of any service, product, or company.



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Translation by WorldLingo