Medicare Announces Funding for Health Insurance Counseling Programs

Nearly $46.5 million for basic grant funding will be distributed to Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Programs (HICAP) throughout the United States to help people with Medicare get more information about their health benefits and choices, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced. The fiscal year 2012 grant is a non-competitive continuation of the HICAP grant from the prior annual grant period. These grants are available to all federally-funded 54 state and territory health insurance counseling programs. The funding is available to HICAPs for the grant year April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.
 
 
“The [HICAPs] provide quality Medicare information to beneficiaries at the local level and help ensure that unbiased one-on-one counseling is provided to those needing access to health insurance and prescription drug coverage,” said Acting Administrator Tavenner. [HICAP] works in assisting Medicare beneficiaries and their families to ensure the best possible grass roots level customer service.”
 
These grants are the first of two rounds of funding to be distributed to HICAP in fiscal year 2012. Performance grants will be distributed to HICAP in September based on their performance and accomplishments in the prior grant year. Performance award grant funding will allow HICAPs to expand and develop new strategies to strengthen their community-based networks.
 
“Through outreach and education, [HICAP] provides beneficiaries and their caregivers with important information, including Medicare’s preventive services benefits,” said Director of the CMS Office of Public Engagement Teresa Nino. “[HICAPs] are trusted and objective sources that counsel beneficiaries on health insurance options, and suggest choices that may save money for Medicare beneficiaries.”
 
If you have questions on Medicare and what options are available to you or your loved ones, call Council on Aging Silicon Valley’s HICAP at (408) 350-3200.

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