DALY CITY, Calif. – BEGINNING this week the federal health insurance system headlines a series of presentations at Doelger Senior Center in the Westlake area here.
Now more than ever, Medicare, the 53-year-old benefit for U.S. workers and people with disability, has riveted the attention not just of those imminently eligible but the nation at large.
While politicians and pundits debate the future of the system launched by Pres. Lyndon Johnson in 1965, Americans get older and closer to the age when health care dictates the quality and length of life.
Every day, 10,000 people in this country turn 65, the age people are generally eligible for Medicare. Or about to retire long after celebrating their 65th birthday. Or they may be way under the age of 65 and have been disabled for 2 years. If they do not know when and how to enroll, they would be missing out on a valuable gift or incur late penalties.
For them, their families or their representatives, the private nonprofit Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program or HICAP (pronounced high-cap) exists.
Following is the schedule of free and unbiased presentations at Doelger Center at 101 Lake Merced Blvd. for everyone who is, will be, or is helping someone on Medicare:
* HICAP HELPS UNDERSTAND MEDICARE
No-cost nationwide counseling, advocacy
10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018
* GOT YOUR NEW MEDICARE CARD?
Protect yourself from scams
11 a.m. – 12 noon, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Sponsored by the Office of SMC Supervisor David Canepa with welcome remarks from the Supervisor
* MEDICARE & RETIREE PLANS
Know how health care plans coordinate
10 a.m. – 12 noon, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018
*MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
Part C & Part D changes in 2019
10 a.m. – 12 noon, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018
HICAP guides Medicare beneficiaries in making choices for health care coverage. It is not a government agency nor is it affiliated with the insurance industry. Sponsored by the state through federal funds, the program is supported by state-registered volunteers at offices in every county in the U.S. Counselors provide free, accurate, unbiased and confidential information. They do not represent or endorse private firms or professionals nor do they sell or recommend health or insurance plans or medical equipment.
HICAP is the only private nonprofit authorized to discuss Medicare by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In San Mateo County, HICAP is administered by Self-Help for the Elderly, a nonprofit multiservice agency headquartered in San Francisco. Under the direction of program manager Christina Dimas-Kahn, HICAP SM provides the following services, always free and objective:
- One-on-one counseling by appointment in 24 sites in accessible locations from Daly City and Pacifica in the North County to South San Francisco, Foster City, San Mateo and Belmont in Central County, San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Part and Palo Alto in South County and Half Moon Bay down the coast;
- Information & Assistance by telephone;
- Long-term care insurance counseling;
- Referrals to coordinating local and state agencies;
- Community Education through presentations before groups and participation in health, private and public fairs, and
- Training for counselor registration with the California Department of Aging.
The program provides assistance and counseling in Tagalog, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese, German and Arabic.
Medicare recipients or their loved ones are encouraged to call HICAP at 650-627-9350 for more information or to schedule a free appointment or presentation.
PNews Editor at Large Cherie M. Querol Moreno coordinates community outreach for HICAP San Mateo.