Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program


(209) 385-7550 or

Toll-free (800) 434-0222



Medicare is often complex and confusing.  The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) offer  free one-on-one counseling to assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers understand Medicare benefits and best healthcare options.  HICAP also offer community education presentations throughout Merced County.


HICAP counseling services are provided by County staff and volunteers registered by the California Department of Aging. HICAP counselors act in good faith to provide their clients with unbiased information about the relative benefits of health insurance policies.


HICAP registered counselors assist Medicare beneficiaries of any age in understanding:
  • Medicare Benefits and Rights
  • Medicare Supplemental Plans (Medigaps)
  • Medicare Extra Help Programs
  • Medicare Claim Notices
  • Prescription Drug Plans
  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Long-Term Care Options 
The Counselors also:
  • Educate on how to organize medical bills 
  • Explain Medicare claim denials and assist with Medicare appeals
  • Explain prescription drug plan comparisons
  • Help identify Medicare fraud and abuse

Become a Registered Volunteer Counselor

We are in need of HICAP Counselors who are bilingual in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Punjabi.

HICAP Volunteer Counselors receive extensive initial training to learn Medicare. Those completing the training and internship hours will be registered with California Department of Aging.  The training is free and all materials are provided.

Learn More

For more information, set-up a counseling appointment, schedule a presentation, or sign up as a volunteer, please call HICAP at (209) 385-7550 or (800) 434-0222.  Services are available in Merced, Livingston, Hilmar, Los Banos, and Planada.

HICAP does not sell or endorse, promote or recommend commercial insurance products or services.  Please note that persons who hold a current license to sell insurance or who receive financial or other payment from any health insurer are not eligible to become HICAP counselors.

Medicare Resource

Understanding Medicare Benefits and COVID-19
En Comprender Los Beneficios De Medicare Y COVID-19
HICAP Medicare Annual Enrollment
HICAP Medicare Annual Enrollment Counseling Sites
Consejeria Anual de Inscripcion de Medicare
Sitios de HICAP para Consejeria Anual de Inscripcion de Medicare
SHIP_logo 3-2022
"HICAP is a member of the National State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) network."
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90SAPG0094-01-00, 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.