An elderly female hand holds a mock United States government Medicare Health Insurance card.

Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program

Sourcewise provides residents of Santa Clara County access to one-on-one counseling to assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers understand their Medicare benefits and healthcare options.

Who We Serve

We know that understanding Medicare can be challenging.

Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) services are available to current Medicare beneficiaries living in Santa Clara County; those about to become eligible for benefits; and anyone who wants to learn more about buying health insurance while planning for retirement.

HICAP also serves as advocates for families of seniors or service providers.

HICAP is part of the national network of State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and is the Santa Clara County source for unbiased and objective Medicare-related counseling and information.

We are here to help if you or someone you know is a Medicare beneficiary or about to become one. Some Medicare basics include:

  • Generally, individuals age 65 and over can have Medicare Part A benefits
  • Persons with disabilities under age 65 can have Medicare Part A benefits after the 24th month of receiving Social Security disability benefits or Railroad Retirement disability benefits. A person with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease) would get Medicare A the month disability benefits start
  • Individuals with permanent kidney failure at any age can have Medicare Part A

Any person who is eligible for Medicare Part A is also eligible for Medicare Part B.

To have Medicare, individuals described above must also be U.S. citizens or be lawfully admitted and then continuously live in the U.S. for five years. Such noncitizens should contact us before their fifth year of permanent residency status.

Let’s Get Started

Find out what your options are and what will work best for you. The Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program will help you fully understand your Medicare options so that you can make the right choices and navigate the Medicare maze better informed.

HICAP answers questions about:

  • Original Medicare
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance
  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
  • Limited income programs that help with Medicare costs
  • Choices for dually eligible Medicare and Medi-Cal beneficiaries
  • Medicare coordination with other insurance, (e.g. employer and retiree plans)
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Medicare Fraud and Abuse

Contact us if you are interested in:

  • A one-on-one Medicare or long-term care insurance counseling session
  • Hosting or attending a Medicare or long-term care insurance presentation or seminar
  • Inviting Sourcewise HICAP to participate in an outreach event

Not sure where to begin?

Complete the Contact Us form or call (408) 350-3200, option 2. We are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding national holidays.

For personalized assistance, consider making a counseling appointment.

Presentations and Outreach Events

Medicare and long-term care insurance presentations are available to various groups and organizations upon request. If you and your group would like to host a presentation on a Medicare topic or have us attend your outreach event, complete the Contact Us form or contact our Health Insurance Counselors at (408) 350-3200, option 2. HICAP does not sell, recommend, or endorse any insurance product.

Volunteer Opportunities with HICAP

Become a Volunteer Counselor with the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program.

Volunteer counselors serve at least eight hours a month. They first complete 30 hours of Medicare training, and 10 hours of internship to become a certified Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program Counselor.

HICAP Volunteers cannot be licensed insurance agents, insurance brokers, or financial planners.

If you’re interested in becoming a certified Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program Counselor, view the Support Us, Volunteer webpage for our Volunteer Opportunities, or call (408) 350-3200, option 2.

Medicare Consumer Guide

Sourcewise offers a Medicare Consumer Guide, including plan comparisons, and a Guide to Combining Medicare and Medi-Cal. These tools are designed to be used in conjunction with one-on-one telephone or in-person counseling sessions with our counselors to assist you in making informed health care decisions.

Medicare Resources:


This project was supported, in part, by grant number CFDA 93.324 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

Support was provided by the California Department of Aging.