Albany County
Harold L. Joyce Albany County Office Building
162 Washington Avenue | Albany, NY 12210
Phone: (518) 447-7177 | Fax: (518) 447-7188
George Brown, Commissioner

Health Insurance Information and Counseling (HIICAP)

Health Insurance Information and Counseling (HIICAP)

Through seminars, one-on-one counseling sessions, and the Information & Assistance Line; the Department’s HIICAP program provides unbiased information, education, and counseling regarding Medicare (including Part D), New York State EPIC, Long Term Care insurance, and other insurance issues. Trained HIICAP staff and volunteers can help you:

  • compare private insurance plans that will best fit your needs;
  • find ways to help you afford coverage and to fill Medicare’s gaps;
  • understand what the 1% per month penalty for late enrollment means for you;
  • solve issues and problems with your current plan.

If you would like to access a one-on-one counseling session, contact us at (518) 447-7177, or attend a regularly scheduled clinic. CLICK HERE for information about clinic locations, dates and contact infoOpen enrollment for 2014 is from October 15, 2013 to December 7, 2013. This is the time to review the options and select the best plan for you or your loved one!

Important 2014 Medicare Dates

October 1, 2013 - Medicare Part D Prescription Drug and Medicare Advantage plan Marketing Activities can begin for 2014. At this time you will be able to once again gather information and evaluate the various options.

Please note, no enrollments may be accepted before Oct. 15, 2013 for 2014 plans. 

Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2013 - Annual Coordinated Election Period - Here is your chance to join a new Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan for the 2014 plan year (however your plan will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014). If you already have a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, this is your time to look back over 2013 and make an enrollment decision for your coverage for 2014. If you make no decision, you will remain in the same plan as you elected in 2013. There is no enrollment required to renew your present coverage. (If you do not enroll during this period, your next chance for coverage is Jan. 2015.)

Jan. 1, 2014 - Your new Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan becomes effective and you will be able to begin using your benefits (your old plan will automatically be discontinued). 

Jan. 1 to Feb. 14, 2014 - Members of Medicare Advantage Plans may Dis-enroll from their Medicare Advantage Plan returning to Original Medicare and select a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan. 

Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014 - Persons turning 65 can enroll in a 2014 Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicaid recipients can also enroll or change their enrollment.

Medicare Website

Visit to search for prescription plans for your area (click "Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans by State 2007") or to compare plans that match your drug list (click "Formulary Finder") or you may also find extra help to pay for your coverage (click "Lower Your Costs During the Coverage Gap").

On you may also find out what Medicare covers, or compare health plans and Medigap policies, nursing homes, hospitals, dialysis facilities, or even find doctors and specialists in your area.

To speak to a Medicare representative call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

EPIC Website

Visit for more information about the New York State Prescription Plan for Seniors (65+). The site will help you understand the program benefits and eligibility. The EPIC application is also available on line. If you have any questions about the program call: 1 (800) 332-3742.

Compare Drug Prices

The New York State Board of Pharmacy publishes an annual list of the 150 most frequently prescribed drugs, in the most common quantities. The New York State Department of Health collects retail price information on these drugs from pharmacies that participate in the Medicaid program and from pharmacies that submit their retail price information directly to the Department of Health. This site allows you to search for specific drugs from the most frequently prescribed drug list.


For Medicaid questions and eligibility information see:

To apply for Medicaid (or Family Health Plus) go to Access NY application at: 

To apply for Medicaid and food stamps together go to:

Medicare Savings Programs, Medicaid Spenddown and Medicaid  

Medicare Savings programs can help seniors (individuals/couples) pay for all or for portions of medical costs or Medicare premiums (depending on level of income). For an application

A person may be able to qualify for Medicaid Spenddown if they spend (down) enough of their income on medical bills and qualifying medical expenses. To find out more about current Medicaid income rates visit the NYS Dept of Health Medicaid in New York State and click the link: "How do I know if I qualify for Medicaid?"

Medicaid /Medicaid Spenddown/ Medicare Saving Programs Application Assistance

To receive help with your application from an Albany County DSS Eligibility Examiner (on a first-come, first-served basis) see the list of sites, dates and phone number to call for directions:

  • Bethlehem Senior Center—As needed on the 2nd Monday of each month, 10:00am-12noon, RSVP (518) 439-4955
  • CHOICES (Ravena-Faith Plaza)—4th Wednesday of each month, 9:00am-2:00pm, (518) 756-8650
  • Guilderland Town Hall—3rd Thursday of each month, 9:30-11:30am, (518) 356-1980x 1048
  • Colonie Senior Resources—2nd Friday of each month, 1:30-3:30pm, (518) 459-5051
  • Albany County Dept of Mental Health—Every other Thursday, 1:00-4:00pm, (518) 447-4555
  • City Rescue Mission—1st Tuesday, 10:00am-2:00pm, (518) 449-1305

Under special circumstances, if a senior is incapable of leaving their home (must be homebound) and do not have someone to assist them in completing and submitting an application; call (518) 447-7177 for more information.

An individual may also request an application over the phone by calling (518) 447-7403, and can submit their Medicaid and Food Stamps applications via regular mail without having to meet with a representative from the Department of Social Services.

Other Helpful Websites and Contact Numbers

  • The New York State Wide Senior Action Council provides counseling to seniors seeking more information about Medicare Part D prescription coverage with EPIC. Contact 1-800-333-4374 or email
  • Medicare Savings Programs can assist income eligible individuals/couples in paying for their Medicare premiums. For information and income eligibility visit NYS Health Dept Medicare Savings Program 2009.
  • People who are over sixty-five, under 21, or blind or disabled, and who are over income for Medicaid may be able to qualify for Medicaid spenddown if they spend down enough of their income on medical bills and qualifying medical expenses.To find out more about current Medicaid income rates visit the NYS Dept of Health Medicaid in New York State and click the link: "How do I know if I qualify for Medicaid?" Contact Albany County NY-Connects at (518) 447-7177 for more information.
  • Compare retail prices of the 150 most frequently used drugs in the most common quantities, at the NYS Dept of Health website:
  • The NY Bridge Plan is a low cost health plan for uninsured adults and children with a pre-existing condition, who do not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, Family Health Plus, or Child Health Plus. For more information call 1-877-444-9622 or
  • The NYS Insurance Dept provides updated information on LTC policies at and rankings on health insurance companies at
  • - CMS /The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • - Social Security Administration 1 (800) 772-1213 or TTY 1 (800) 325-0778
  • Long-Term Care insurance can help you pay for costs related to a chronic medical condition or disabling injury while protecting your assets. LTC Insurance covers services provided in a nursing home, at home, in assisted living facility, or in other community-based settings. See or to request NYS Partnership for Long Term care brochures and information call (518) 447-7177.
  • The Empire Justice Center, The Legal Aid Society, and Selfhelp Community Services' website, New York Health Access,  is designed for consumers, caregivers, and New York State health advocates. The website assists senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, the uninsured, underinsured and other individuals facing medical debt; access to Medicare supplemental benefits, Medicaid, Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus.
Questions? Call us! (518) 447-7177