Covered California is on a mission to make sure more Californians have access to health insurance — and that’s good news for you.

Health insurance doesn’t just protect you from unexpected medical costs. Research shows that better access to insurance may help people live longer, healthier lives.1 But navigating your options to find the best health insurance for yourself and your family can be complicated. Thankfully, California residents have a not-so-secret weapon to help them understand the ins and outs of health insurance, and make smarter choices: Covered California.

Covered California is a free service that helps connect California residents with brand-name health insurance as well as financial and enrollment help for those who need it. With a mission to improve health insurance access and affordability to all Californians, Covered California works on behalf of residents to help improve health and wellness across the state. What exactly does that mean in practice? Here are five ways that Covered California can make a difference for you.

1. Better information — right at your fingertips

Covered California’s website lets you browse different health plans and make an apples-to-apples comparison of monthly premiums, copays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Plus, you can find support online for navigating health care terms and get one-on-one help understanding your options. With all the necessary information available to you before you enroll, you can be confident that you’re selecting a plan that best fits your needs.

2. Your health comes first

When you purchase a health plan through Covered California, you can be sure that you are getting quality insurance. That’s because all health insurance companies with plans available through Covered California are required to maintain strict standards such as offering specific essential health benefits. Covered California also works with insurance companies, as well as doctors, hospitals and other providers, to promote patient safety and quality care.

3. More competition means improved options

Covered California was able to help reduce the rate of uninsured people in the state from 17.2 percent in 2013 to 7.2 percent in 2018. This decrease makes a big difference for California residents: The more people shopping for health plans, the more insurance companies need to compete for your business, making monthly premium costs as low as possible. This competitive marketplace saves individual Covered California members roughly $1,000 every single year.2

4. Even more financial help

Beyond competitive rates, Covered California is the only place to apply for financial help to lower the cost of monthly health insurance premiums. As of 2020, new state assistance for low- and middle-income Californians is available, making coverage more affordable than ever before. It also means that many people who didn’t qualify for aid in the past can now receive financial help. A simple online questionnaire can let you know immediately if you’re eligible for financial help toward your health insurance coverage.

5. Support every step of the way

Above all, Covered California is invested in you maintaining your best health and is here for you as a resource, guide and advocate. Have more questions? Covered California‘s online assistance and free expert advice can give you the confidence you need to determine the best health care coverage options for you and your family.

Learn more about Covered California, and explore your health insurance options using the Shop and Compare tool.