New Month is a Good Time to Reassess Your Health Care Options

As we begin May, your health care coverage options may be changing as well. If you lost employment or hours in April, the beginning of the month is a good time to assess your health insurance status and make necessary changes.

With unemployment claims rising, estimates suggest nearly two million Californians have also lost their employer-sponsored health care coverage. A change in income could mean you are now eligible for more help to access or afford coverage. Even if California didn’t have a requirement for health coverage, a public health pandemic is an important time to ensure that you and your family are covered.

What is it? As California’s version of Medicaid, this program provides comprehensive health care coverage, often at no cost, to those with no or limited incomes.

What do I need to know? If you and our family have lost your source of income in this crisis, or are in lower-income work with no health coverage, Medi-Cal is an important safety-net on which millions of Californians depend. Enrolling in Medi-Cal can also help connect you to other programs like CalFresh and CalWorks. Medi-Cal coverage is also retroactive to the first day of the month which you enroll.

Is everyone eligible? The ACA expanded the program to include virtually all Californians under 138% of the poverty level. The federal program still excludes many undocumented immigrants, but California has taken extra steps to cover all income-eligible children and young adults. Since our health system is stronger when everyone is covered, Health Access is seeking a further expansion to seniors. Learn more about the campaign to expand Medi-Cal towards #Health4All.

ENROLL: Find out if you are eligible for Medi-Cal, and apply here.

What is it?: Covered California is a marketplace to buy private health insurance, and that offers subsidies to help afford coverage based on income.

What do I need to know?: Both federal and state affordability assistance is available in Covered California based on a sliding scale of your income. If you are currently enrolled, but your income has changed, the amount of your subsidy may change as well. Some things that affect your income could be loss of hours from employment, or increased contributions from state or federal Unemployment Insurance.

Due to ACA protections, all Covered California plans include essential health benefits, and you are protected from being denied for care due to a pre-existing condition. Covered California plan coverage begins on the first day of the month following the date you enroll.

This year, California became the first state to extend subsides up to middle-income Californians. Find out here if you qualify for this assistance. Health Access continues to work to ensure that these subsides remain in place, and are augmented as needed.

ENROLL: Find our more and enroll now at

As California slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to be vigilant about the health of ourselves, our families, and our communities. We encourage you to enroll in care as soon as possible.

If your health insurance status has changed due to COVID-19, or you are experiencing issues with our health care system when accessing care, please share your story with us.