If you are uninsured, you may be eligible for coverage through a publicly-funded insurance plan, even if you work or own your own home.
Eligibility for all of the following programs is income-based, so you may find it helpful to figure out how your income compares to the "Federal Poverty Level," (FPL) which is used to determine eligibility. Some income is disregarded when calculating eligibility, and every program has different rules so, if a program seems designed for people like you but you think you are over the income limit, APPLY ANYWAY.
Public Insurance Options in California
Adults and Children:
Medi-Cal. Free coverage for Californian children and adults with low or no incomes and high health care needs; those with higher incomes may qualify but pay a Share of Cost. Adults must be categorically eligible (e.g., aged, disabled or parenting) as well as low income.
NEW! Beginning January 1, 2014, Medi-Cal will cover all legal residents up to 133% FPL, with no asset test. Counties can expand eligibility before 2014, through a federally-funded program called LIHP; contact your county Supervisor to ask whether your county is taking advantage of LIHP funds to expand coverage to eligible adults.
Healthy San Francisco (SF residents only). Low cost medical care for uninsured SF residents 18-64 years old and at or below 500% FPL.
County-Funded Programs for the Medically Indigent. Coverage for hospital and other urgent medical bills for low-income, uninsured adults who are not eligible for Medi-Cal or other programs.
Pregnant Women Only:
AIM Program (Access for Infants and Mothers). Low cost coverage for mid-income pregnant women.
Children or adults with "pre-existing conditions":
Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). Coverage for Californians who have been denied for a pre-existing condition & uninsured at least 6 months prior to applying. Funded through the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
MRMIP (California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program). Guaranteed, partially subsidized coverage for people who are unable to purchase individual health insurance because of a "pre-existing medical condition." [Note: Enrollment in MRMIP is capped at 7,100 people due to budget constraints and there is currently a waiting list.]