In 2014, the Affordable Care Act was passed and 3.4 million previously uninsured Californians enrolled in health care, some of them for the first time. In 2015, an estimated 250,000 undocumented children enrolled in Medi-Cal after California expanded coverage to all low-income children, regardless of their immigration status. In 2018, Governor Gavin Newsom fully restored Medi-Cal’s adult oral health benefit and nearly 4 million Californians received dental coverage.
As a result of these policy changes and the dedicated work of California’s advocates and activists, millions of Californians are now eligible for health care and millions can now qualify for assistance to lower their health care costs. However, many Californians experience barriers simply accessing services they qualify for. The application process can be confusing and challenging. To offer some support, we created this page to answer some of the most pressing questions our community members have when enrolling in a health care plan. We’ll keep on adding questions and answers to this page as they come up, so please reach out to us if you have a question and don’t see an answer here. Email us at [email protected].
What is Covered California?
Covered California is a free service that connects Californians with health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). It’s the only place where you can get financial help when you buy health insurance from well-known companies. When you apply, you may qualify for a discount on a health plan through Covered California, or you could get health insurance through the state’s Medi-Cal program.
Do I Qualify?
You can quickly check to see if you qualify for Covered California, Medi-Cal, or other health programs offered by the state of California using this Shop and Compare tool. This simple tool will ask you 5 questions and will immediately tell you whether you qualify for assistance or not. However, the only way to know for sure is to apply. You can do that anytime, even if the results of this screening tool say that you might not to qualify.
How to Apply
Covered California and Medi-Cal use the same online application. That means that once you apply, you’ll find out which program you qualify for. Some households qualify for both. To apply online, go to the Covered California website. There you can learn about the process and start your online application. If your earnings are below a certain threshold, you will be able to get subsidies to pay for your health insurance.
Get Help Applying
If the online application process is challenging or if you have any questions about any of the steps, you can contact a Covered California service representative by phone, live chat and in person to get real-time support. This service is free and confidential. The representatives are knowledgeable and will be able to answer all your questions and guide you through the process. Go here to get free and confidential help.
Covered California offers phone support in the following languages:
- English – (800) 300-1506
- Arabic – (800) 826-6317
- Cantonese – (800) 339-8938
- Mandarin – (800) 300-1533
- Hmong – (800) 771-2156
- Korean – (800) 738-9116
- Russian – (800) 778-7695
- Filipino – (800) 983-8816
- Armenian – (800) 996-1009
- Farsi – (800) 921-8879
- Khmer – (800) 906-8528
- Lao – (800) 357-7976
- Spanish – (800) 300-0213
- Vietnamese – (800) 652-9528
Covered California offers a great overview of its coverage and services on its Get Started page. You can also watch their how-to videos to help you with the enrollment and they have a frequently asked questions webpage, too.
Finally, you can also contact the Medi-Cal office in you county to check on the status of your application or to ask follow-up questions. Once you enroll, it’s important to keep the county updated on any new information about your family, especially for changes such as: change of address, marriage, divorce, birth or gaining health coverage through another source.