Covered California Eligibility: How do I know if I qualify?

ACA California requires U.S citizens, U.S nationals and permanent residents to have health coverage that meets the minimum requirements. Unless you qualify to be exempted, you could pay tax penalties if you go for more than two months without any coverage.

Lawfully present individuals in the US include:

  • U.S citizens and U.S nationals
  • Permanent residents (green card holders)
  • Temporary residents
  • People running away from persecution (refugees and asylees)
  • Humanitarian immigrants (those given temporary protected status)
  • Non-immigrants (workers and student visas)

If you are an undocumented resident of the United States, you are under no obligation to obtain health coverage. As such, you won’t be eligible to enroll in Obamacare, but you can choose to have private health insurance outside of the California health insurance exchange.

Immigrants Can Apply for Medical Coverage Through Covered California

Those who are undocumented have two options. They can check to see if they are eligible for free or low cost Medi-Cal which is coverage through the state of California, though benefits may be limited. The other option would be to purchase a health plan privately by enrolling through an insurance agency like Health for California Insurance Center. You would have a variety of insurance companies to select a plan through such as Kaiser, Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, etc. Keep in mind through, undocumented individuals are not subject to a penalty.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) individuals are not considered legally present in the U.S. As such, they are not eligible for Covered California. They are, however, required to pay a tax penalty if they do not have any health insurance. These individuals may be eligible for Medi-Cal and can apply for Medi-Cal coverage through Covered California or at any Medi-Cal office.

Undocumented Individuals Can Apply for Coverage on Behalf of Documented Family Members

Immigrants who are not legally present may apply for medical coverage through Covered California on behalf of their lawfully present family members (including children).

Additionally, Covered California encourages anyone who is lawfully present to apply for health insurance, even if some of their family members are undocumented. Families with mixed immigration status are encouraged to apply with the entire household on the application. Those that are undocumented need to mark “no” that they are not applying.

Documents Needed to Enroll in Covered California

The law requires that lawfully present residents who enroll in Covered California show proof of lawful presence. Covered California only requires that the person seeking health coverage show proof of immigration status. Family members who are not applying for medical coverage will not be asked for their proof of lawful presence. Any documents and information provided by individuals applying for coverage through Covered California will not be used for any purpose other than to confirm eligibility.

When applying for medical coverage, you may be asked to provide the following information on your application:

  • Documents to verify U.S citizenship or lawful immigration status
  • Information on family members who need health coverage
  • Social Security information
  • Work and household income information
  • Federal tax details
  • Mailing address

How to Enroll for Health Coverage in California

If you are looking for health insurance in California, visit the state health insurance exchange — Covered California. Alternatively, you can use our online services at HFC to get free, instant quotes for health insurance plans from top insurance providers in California. Just fill out our confidential form to get started. No contact information is required, and you’re under no obligation to buy.