Apply for Medi-Cal Coverage

Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, helps low-income families get health coverage at little to no cost. Depending on your income and family size, you could qualify for this service. Learn more about applying for Medi-Cal.

How Do I Get Medi-Cal?

You can get Medi-Cal through Covered California and your county social services office. You will soon also have the option to apply through Health for California. These services offer multiple ways to apply so you can choose an option that works for your schedule and preferences. Your county office and insurance plan will contact you when you become enrolled so you can get started.

What Does the Application Process Involve?

During the Medi-Cal application process, you can apply online, by phone or in person. The application requires information about you and your family members that helps your local agency determine your eligibility. You will need to provide these details about each person your household:

  • Age
  • Employment
  • Marital status
  • Tax information
  • Identification
  • Citizenship

The information required for each family member depends on their age, disability status and other factors. As you apply for Medi-Cal, you will need the following documents:

  • Social Security numbers: Every applicant who has a Social Security number needs to provide it to make the application process faster. Social Security numbers help your county social services office verify your information.
  • Immigration documents: Anyone on your application who doesn’t have American citizenship can submit immigration documents to determine their eligibility for other services. Undocumented adults cannot get Medi-Cal, but undocumented children can qualify.
  • Income and employment information: Adults who receive income need to provide information about their unemployment benefits or employment. The required documents can vary and could include proof of unemployment benefits or pay stubs.
  • Federal tax information: The head of the household and their dependents need to provide their federal tax information. You could still become eligible for Medi-Cal even if you don’t file taxes.

Remember to have these documents on hand when you apply. After you apply, you will receive a letter of determination letting you know if anyone in your family qualifies for Medi-Cal. Covered California will keep all of your information secure according to federal and state law.

How Does Medi-Cal Provide Medical Assistance?

As a Medi-Cal member, you receive free or low-cost coverage through a commercial or public insurance plan. The specific benefits you receive from your plan may vary, but they all provide the 10 “essential health benefits” required by the ACA:

  • Preventive care, chronic disease management and wellness services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Outpatient services
  • Behavioral health services
  • Children’s services, including vision and oral care
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Laboratory services
  • Hospital stays
  • Emergency services
  • Physical and occupational therapy and related devices

Under Medi-Cal, a member may have full-scope or partial-scope coverage. Full-scope coverage involves all Medi-Cal coverage, while partial-scope coverage includes some services.

What Options Does Medi-Cal Offer for Children, Adults and Families?

When you apply for Medi-Cal, your county’s social services office will determine the eligibility of every family member. Depending on your circumstances, some household members might qualify, while others need to get a Covered California plan. Some Medi-Cal services aim to keep families and children healthy. Children, adults and their families may qualify for the following special services:

  • Medi-Cal Access Program (MCAP): Low-cost coverage for pregnant women based on income
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Assistance for low-income children who don’t qualify for Medicaid coverage
  • Coverage for former foster youth: Free Medi-Cal until age 26 for people in foster care on their 18th birthday or later

Your letter of determination and local county social service office can help you discover more services that help your family get the most out of Medi-Cal.

Commonly Asked Questions

Get the answers to commonly asked questions about applying for Medi-Cal:

Can I Get Medicaid? Can I Register for Medi-Cal?

Any California resident can register for Medicaid through Medi-Cal and other Medi-Cal programs. Since Medi-Cal has more than 90 eligibility categories, applying can help you understand if you fall under one of them. The people who qualify for Medi-Cal can include:

  • Low-income adults
  • Families with children
  • Pregnant women
  • People with disabilities
  • Seniors
  • Foster children
  • Former foster youth

When you apply for Medi-Cal through Covered California, your letter of determination will let you know if you or a family member qualifies. If you don’t have Medi-Cal eligibility, you may qualify for coverage under Covered California.

Where Can I Sign up for Medi-Cal?

Californians have three ways to apply for Medi-Cal:

For more information on Medi-Cal registration in your area, contact your county’s social services office.

Can I Get Medi-Cal if I Have Insurance?

If you have private health insurance, you can still qualify for Medi-Cal. Members who already have insurance can add Medi-Cal coverage to their existing plan. Your provider will first bill your private insurance, and then Medi-Cal will pay for any additional services it covers.

Do I Have Medi-Cal Enrollment? How Can I Find Out?

After you apply for Medi-Cal, you should receive a letter in the mail with you and your family members’ eligibility. If you don’t get this letter within 45 days of submitting your application, call Covered California at 1-800-300-1506. Your county social services office may also have information that can help.

Get a Quote for Medi-Cal Today

Health for California can help you understand your potential health insurance prices and your chance of qualifying for government assistance. You can get a free quote for California health insurance by giving us some information about your household. Our plan options make it easy to know what choices you have.