Covered California and the Affordable Care Act



Open Enrollment Begins November 15, 2014
Last Day to Register for Jan 2015 Coverage December 15, 2014
Last Day of Open EnrollmentFebruary 15, 2015
 Extended Enrollment Deadline April 30, 2015


Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans, with coverage starting in 2014.

By 2014, about 2.6 million Californians will be able to access financial assistance through Covered California to pay for their health insurance, and 1.4 million will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal. An additional 2.7 million will benefit from coverage that is guaranteed whether they buy an insurance plan through Covered California or on their own. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits. For more information on Covered California, please visit


Medi-Cal, as a health insurance program, has been covering Californians who couldn’t afford health care since 1966. Currently there are 8.5 million people enrolled. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medi-Cal coverage will expand in 2014, making one million to two million new people eligible.

Beginning January 1, 2014, single adults without children, ages 19-64 will be eligible for Medi-Cal. To be eligible, your annual income must be lower than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (in 2013 that would mean an individual who earned less than $15,856). Open enrollment for Medi-Cal coverage for these individuals began on October 1, 2013. If they are found to be eligible, their coverage begins on January 1, 2014. The Medi-Cal expansion also allows coverage for parents who would lose coverage under current rules if their income slightly exceeds the federal poverty level.   


For all Medi-Cal applicants, there are new, simplified procedures for Medi-Cal eligibility that will also begin January 1, 2014.  Eligibility is based upon income, as required by the ACA. Income verification will be done electronically. Medi-Cal will still accept applications and enroll individuals who qualify using today’s eligibility procedures.  Periodic redetermination of eligibility for those who are enrolled will also be much simpler and will be done electronically whenever possible.

For more information about what Medi-Cal means for you, please log on to the DHCS website at



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