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Confused About What Health Insurance is Right for You? This Free Service Can Help

Finding the right health insurance plan for you or your family can be a complicated matter. That’s why Washington Hospital offers Health Insurance Information Services (HIIS), a free, confidential program available year-round to all members of the community.

“We help residents get the information they need to navigate the complex world of health insurance,” explained Kristi Caracappa, coordinator of the HIIS program. “Our goal is to enable people to make informed decisions about what is best for themselves and their families.”

If you and/or your spouse have insurance through your employer, HIIS can help you explore the options so you can find the best plan to fit your needs. That includes:

  • Determining what to look for in a plan
  • Understanding the difference in choices for open enrollment
  • Maximizing benefits when spouses are enrolled in separate plans

If you are turning 65 or you have become eligible for Medicare due to a disability, the service will provide Medicare enrollment counseling. This includes helping you to investigate the different options available, such as managed care, Medicare Supplement plans, and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans.

If you are interested in Medi-Cal enrollment, HIIS has information on which providers accept Medi-Cal. Financed by the State of California and the Federal government, Medi-Cal is a medical assistance program for individuals in the state who are medically indigent and meet certain criteria.

“We don’t enroll people in Medi-Cal,” said Caracappa, “but we can help connect people with local doctors and community clinics that take Medi-Cal patients.”

“Another service we provide is to help people learn about and complete their advance health care directive,” added Caracappa. “We have access to a variety of tools to assist you in understanding what this important document means and how it enables you to plan and prepare for the future.”

Often called advance directive, the form enables you to express your wishes about medical treatment in the event that you become unable to communicate for yourself. At Washington Hospital, all patients over age 18 who are admitted to the Hospital are offered information about advance directives and asked if they have filled one out.

“If you put your wishes in writing ahead of time, before there is a problem or crisis, it is less scary,” commented Caracappa. “You can take comfort in knowing that, in an emergency situation, your care will be conducted the way you want.”

The service can also advise you about where the completed advance directive should be stored so it is readily available when needed. For those who have completed an advance directive, Washington Hospital will keep the document in their medical record.

You can reach the Health Insurance Information Service by calling (800) 770-9447 anytime from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Answers to your questions are available over the phone, or you can set up an appointment for a personal consultation.

To find out more about Washington Hospital Health Insurance Information Service, go to and click on Community Connection.