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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 (Refers to an alien who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose.)
  • 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.

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Immigrants Can Apply for Medical Coverage Through Covered California

Those who are undocumented have two options:

  1. Check for Medi-Cal eligibility
  2. Enroll in a health plan through Health for California

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 that 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. 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.

How Long Does It Take to Apply for Health Insurance Through Covered California?

We’ve made it as quick as possible to calculate costs and apply for health insurance online. Our simple online application asks you to provide some straightforward information on your personal data, taxes and income. You’ll also upload required documents, electronically sign the application and make your online payment. The entire process usually takes less than 20 minutes, and you can expect to hear back from Covered California within 24 hours. Keep in mind that until you pay your first month’s premium, you are not officially enrolled in a plan.

After you submit the application, the State Insurance Exchange verifies your identity, citizenship or immigration status and income with information from other government agencies. Covered California checks your immigration status for insurance purposes, not to enforce immigration law.

If it cannot verify your information, you might be approved with a “conditionally eligible” application. It grants coverage for 90 days but requires you to submit supporting documents to continue. Another possibility is that Covered California will process your application for Medi-Cal insurance. This usually occurs if your income records from the previous year are lower than what was listed on the application.

Upon approval and payment, you’re all set and can expect coverage to begin on the specified date. Depending on when you’re applying, your plan can be effective as early as the first of the next month.

Why Covered California?

Covered California plans are some of the most cost-effective options for many individuals and families in the state who are not offered full coverage through their employer or other providers. These plans are subsidized by the government. That means, if your income is below a certain amount, you can get a sizable discount on your premium. For those with lower incomes, you may qualify for further discounts called cost-sharing reductions. For many Californians, these plans are very affordable.

All Covered California plans meet Obamacare requirements and cover essential benefits like preventative services, prescription drug coverage and maternity and newborn care. You can choose plans from trusted providers across tiers. Whether you’re looking for the bare minimum or want comprehensive coverage, Covered California has a plan for you.

You can also expect speedy approvals from Covered California. With expert assistance from Health for California, you can find the right plan for your needs and get covered quickly.

Not sure how Obamacare affects your health care plans in California? Learn how the ACA works in California, including benefits, costs and enrollment.

Covered California is the Golden State’s official health exchange marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can find high-quality, low-cost California government health insurance.

Learn about Obamacare income guidelines in California using our income limits chart, and see if you’re eligible for government assistance.

Learn about the Covered California website. Find easy online enrollment. Set up your account, log in, buy insurance and more on the California health marketplace website.