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Health Insurance Information and Counseling (HIICAP)

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Health Insurance Information and Counseling (HIICAP) BannerThrough 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.

Dates to Remember


Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans released with new premium and benefit design information for the coming year.

October 15

Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) begins. Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans begin accepting applications for the upcoming plan year.

December 7

Medicare Open Enrollment Period officially ends. The last day Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans are able to accept applications for the coming plan year.

January 1

Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans become effective for the new plan year.

January 1 - February 14

This is the Annual Disenrollment Period (ADP) – a time when Medicare Advantage plans may be dropped and the policyholder may return only to Original Medicare. Part D Prescription Drug plans may be purchased if a drug plan was originally part of the Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Website

Visit Medicare website to find out what Medicare covers, or to compare health plans including Medigap or find prescription plans for your area to compare plans that match your drug list or you may also find extra help to pay for your coverage.

Medicare website to find 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.


Click here to learn 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.

Medicaid and/or Food Stamps

Apply for Medicaid and or Food Stamps.

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). Click here 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, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, RSVP (518) 439-4955
  • CHOICES (Ravena-Faith Plaza) — 4th Wednesday of each month, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM, (518) 756-8650
  • Guilderland Town Hall — 3rd Thursday of each month, 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM, (518) 356-1980, ext. 1048
  • Colonie Senior Resources — 2nd Friday of each month, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM, (518) 459-5051
  • Albany County Dept of Mental Health — Every other Thursday, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM, (518) 447-4555
  • City Rescue Mission — 1st Tuesday, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, (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 Official Health Plan Marketplace for those who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid at NY State of Health website or call 1 (855) 355-5777

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

CMS/The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Social Security Administration 1 (800) 772-1213 or TTY 1 (800) 325-0778 New York State Department of Health website has important health information topics.

Medline website for National Library of Medicine and National Institute on Health, searchable topics covering: diseases, wellness, drugs and supplements, and current health issues.

US Health and Human Service website for health info.

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. Click here 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 Self Help Community Services' website 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.

Free Cancer Screenings

To be connected to free breast, cervical, colorectal cancer screening, diagnostic, treatment and support services in your community please call the NYS Department of Health’s toll free number 1 (866) 442-CANCER (1 (866) 442-2262).

Albany County Mental Health Services

It is our mission to ensure that persons with mental illness, substance and alcohol problems or developmental disabilities are provided a full range of services that promote stabilization, rehabilitation and recovery Call: (518) 447-4555, or click here to visit the website.

Mental Health Services

For adults over 55 include interdisciplinary team that assists with medication therapy, supportive counseling, referrals for services and group therapy. Albany County Community Support Center, Senior Support Team Contact Intake coordinator at 436-4462.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services

For Seniors and their families. Senior Hope is a treatment clinic for people 50 years and older struggling with alcohol, drug and prescription drug abuse. It offers non-intensive outpatient clinic providing: evaluation, assessment, case management, counseling and support. Call (518) 489-7777 for more information.

Hearing Loss Association of Albany (HLAA)

Is a resource for the needs of persons with hearing impairment including technological advancements and ways to coping with special problems. For more information email or call (518) 525-1375.

People with Visual Impairments

Can find assistance, information and referrals from the Northeast Association for the Blind at (518) 463-1211 or click here to see their website.

Patient Advocate Foundation

Is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability. Services are free. For further information, please call 1 (800) 532-5274 or visit the Foundation's website.