Accepted Medicare plans:


Here is a very basic description of the differences between the various Medicare plans offered:

  • Medicare Advantage HMO. This type of plan requires that you see doctors, specialists, or hospitals that are contracted with or on the plan's list in order for the plan to pay the bills. The only exception is in an emergency. If you go to a healthcare provider or hospital that is not on the HMO list, neither the HMO nor Medicare will pay the bill. These type of plans generally have a lower monthly premium than a traditional Medicare supplement, and may cover your Medicare deductibles and may offer additional benefits compared to original Medicare.
  • PPO. PPO plans are a type of Medicare Advantage Plan available in a local or regional area where you pay less if you use doctors, hospitals, and providers that belong to the network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network for an additional cost.
  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans. This is not a Medicare Advantage plan. When you sign up for a Medigap plan, Medicare is the primary payer and the Medigap plan is your secondary insurance. There are 14 standardized plans that are sold by private insurance companies (Blue Shield of California, HealthNet, etc...) labeled A through N. The monthly premium varies between plans and is dependent on the county where you live and your age. To get a list of companies that sell these plans, call HICAP at 1-800-434-0222 and ask for a list of Medigap plans in your county.
  • Medicare Part D-Outpatient Prescription Drug Coverage. This is in addition to your Medicare Part A and Part B. If you sign up for a Medicare Part C plan, that plan may or may not include Part D drug coverage. If it doesn't include it or if you have a Medigap plan, you may want to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan to cover your outpatient prescription drugs.

To help understand these plans, we recommend calling Medicare: 1-800-633-4227(1-800-Medicare) www.Medicare.gov This link will take you away from NorthBay.org, calling HICAP at 1-800-434-0222, or visiting www.senioradvocacyservices.org This link will take you away from NorthBay.org.

What is HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program)?

HICAP, the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program, was established by the California Department of Aging under 1984 legislation signed by Governor George Deukmejian. The program is designed to provide Medicare beneficiaries and persons 60 years of age and older with assistance in dealing with Medicare, HMOs, long-term care insurance, and other health insurance issue. The North Bay HICAP office assists people living or moving to Lake, Mendocino, Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties.

The success of the HICAP program is achieved through responsible, committed volunteers who want to help others. HICAP's staff and volunteers receive extensive initial training, as well as subsequent training workshops. Once a volunteer counselor has completed the necessary hours to counsel, they are registered with the California Department of Aging. All services are provided free of charge.

HICAP provides two main services — individual counseling and community education presentations.

HICAP Counseling Services relies heavily on its volunteer counselors to provide individual assistance by helping people to:

  • Understand Medicare benefits;
  • Evaluate options to supplement Medicare;
  • Develop a system to organize their medical bills;
  • Review and appeal claim denials;
  • Explore long-term care options;
  • Clarify your rights as a health care consumer.


If you have questions please call us at (707) 646-3280.