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Modernizing California’s HICAP: Strategy Recommendations


State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) provide valuable counseling services to Medicare beneficiaries across the country. Each state program varies in its design and operations. The Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP), California’s SHIP, is administered by the California Department of Aging (CDA), which contracts with 26 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to provide HICAP services throughout the State. As part of California’s Master Plan for Aging, CDA was tasked with modernizing the HICAP, so that it may reach more beneficiaries, prioritize addressing equity, and ensure the provision of consistent and culturally appropriate quality services.


With support from The SCAN Foundation, ATI Advisory conducted key informant interviews, a public survey of California stakeholders, a survey of California AAAs/HICAPs, as well as a literature review to 1) analyze the current infrastructure and design of the HICAP, 2) scope out promising approaches to operating SHIPs in other states, and 3) make recommendations for consideration by the CDA as it looks to modernize HICAP. ATI Advisory outlines 10 recommendations for CDA to evaluate for further exploration and potential implementation.


SHIPs, such as California’s HICAP, provide great support to Medicare beneficiaries as they age, or live with a disability. With 1 in 5 Americans expected to be 65 years old and over by 2030, demand for the SHIP services will increase in coming years. We hope that recommendations outlined in this report may assist California’s HICAP and SHIPs nationwide in expanding their reach, while also continuously improving upon quality, equity, and cultural competence.


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