The Application Process
Applications for Covered California health insurance plans are accepted each year during open enrollment, between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31. Outside of that time, you can enroll in a plan only if you have a life event that qualifies you for a special-enrollment period. Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round, however, and Covered California and Medi-Cal use the same application.
When you apply for coverage through Covered California, your application is automatically checked to see if your family is eligible for financial help through Covered California or for free or low-cost Medi-Cal. If you are not interested in financial help, Covered California also has a separate application you can use, for consumers who do not want financial assistance for a Covered California health insurance plan or coverage through Medi-Cal. Most consumers choose to apply for financial assistance to help pay for health coverage.
Details about each step of the application process are described below.
Explore Your Options
First, you can use Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool to learn about the coverage options available to you and get an estimate of your costs. You will enter some basic information about yourself and will then see the plans available in your area. You’ll also see whether you are likely to qualify for financial assistance or Medi-Cal.
Now that you’ve provided your basic information, and found out if you qualify for financial help or Medi-Cal, you can compare the health plans that are available to you and your family. Depending on where you live, there are different plans to choose from and different levels of coverage. During this step you can compare co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs depending on the metal tier (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum). No matter the metal tier you end up choosing, you’ll be able to compare plans and estimate what you can expect to pay and see how much financial help is available based on your family size, income and where you live.
Visit our Apply page to start an online application. You can apply by telephone or find free, confidential help enrolling in your neighborhood. You’ll need Social Security numbers, birthdates, immigration documents and current income information for the family members in your household.
Families that include immigrants can apply. Consumers who aren’t eligible to enroll due to immigration status can still apply to see if their children are eligible. Visit our Eligibility and Immigration page for more information. We check the information in your application against electronic data sources. If the information you give us doesn’t match, we may ask you to upload documents to your online account or send them to us by mail or fax so that we can confirm your information. Visit the Documents to Confirm Eligibility page to help you select the right document to send to us.
Review Your Choices
After entering your information, you will find out if you qualify for tax credits to buy a Covered California health plan or if you qualify for free or low-cost Medi-Cal. If you qualify for Medi-Cal, your county Medi-Cal office will follow up with more information.
If you qualify for Covered California, you must choose a health plan and pay your first bill to finish your enrollment with Covered California.
You may also be interested in getting dental coverage for the adults in your household through an optional family dental plan (children’s dental coverage is already included in your health insurance). Learn more about dental coverage available through Covered California.
Pay Your Bill
Once you have enrolled for health care coverage through Covered California, you need to pay your premium in order for your health care coverage to start.
Some plans accept the first monthly payment through Covered California’s online application system. If your plan does not accept your first payment this way, you will get a bill from your health insurance company. Just follow the instructions on the bill for making a payment. If you do not receive a bill, please contact your selected health insurance plan or make your first payment using the information on our Paying Your Premium page.
Children’s dental coverage (pediatric dental coverage) is included with your health insurance coverage, so you will not receive a separate invoice for that coverage. But if you purchase a separate family dental plan for yourself or your child, you will pay that premium directly to the dental company. Follow the instructions on the bill or visit Paying Your Premium.
Payment for all plans must be paid directly to the insurance company. You need to pay your specific insurance company — not Covered California — no later than the due date printed on the bill.
Congratulations on getting covered! To learn what to expect next, and to get the most you can out of your coverage, please visit our Using Your Plan page. Additional resources are available in our Members area.
And remember that if you experience important changes during the year, such as a change in family size, income, immigration status or address, you must report those changes to Covered California. Your online account is the place to report changes during the year. You can also visit our Reporting a Change page for more information.