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How to Get Low-Cost or Free Health Insurance in California

The rising costs of health insurance in California are making it hard for residents to afford their insurance premiums. If you live in California, and you need help paying for health insurance, there are many options available to provide you with either low-cost health insurance or free health insurance, depending on your family size and income.

Low-Cost Health Insurance

To find out which low-cost health insurance plans you qualify for, you will need to go through Covered California. Covered California is a free, health insurance marketplace for Californians that helps you apply for medical insurance and verifies which discounts you are eligible for. Covered California’s income limits require consumers to have a household income that ranges from 0% to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to qualify for assistance on a government health insurance plan.

With Covered California, you can find a low-cost health insurance plan for you or your family.


Low-Income Health Insurance

You can receive low-cost or free health insurance coverage through Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program that covers adults, families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and children in foster care with limited income. To apply for free health care, California residents can go to Covered California’s website to find out if they are eligible.

Medi-Cal will help pay for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, dental care, and other medical services. Depending on how you qualify for Medi-Cal, the program may pay for all of these services (full-scope Medi-Cal) or just some of them (partial-scope Medi-Cal).

Health Insurance Subsidy

Next year, California will become the first state to offer subsidies to middle-income residents. The new health insurance subsidy will help lower the cost of health insurance for residents whose income was too high to qualify for state-sponsored insurance. Previously, those who made at least 400% of the federal poverty line were not eligible for tax credits or any other assistance paying for health care coverage.

How To Enroll in California Low-Cost Health Insurance

Open enrollment period for California runs from October 15, 2019, through January 15, 2020. During open enrollment, you can change your current medical insurance plan or apply for a new one. The deadline to enroll in coverage through Covered California or the open market is January 31, but if you want your coverage to begin January 1, you must sign up by December 15.

If you miss the deadline, not only will you miss the chance to sign up for health insurance for next year, but you may also be subject to a tax penalty. Even though Congress eliminated the federal tax penalty in 2017, California has reinstated it at the state level. So, Californians who choose not to buy qualified health insurance will face a penalty of either $695 per adult ($347.50 per child) or 2.5% of their annual income. The money collected from the penalty will be used to fund the new subsidy program.

Short Term Plans as Low-Cost Health Insurance

Short-term plans, also known as term insurance or temporary health insurance, were once limited to young people or those who couldn’t afford any other coverage. However, short-term plans are now available to everyone.

Short-term plans have low premiums, so you pay little upfront. The healthcare coverage is typically available for 30-90 days. In some states, coverage can be up to 12 months. If you need long term care, are pregnant, or have pre-existing conditions, this coverage may not be for you. Short term health care can help bridge the gaps between health insurance coverage and is available outside of open enrollment.

Get a Free Health Insurance Quote from Cost-U-Less

If you need help enrolling in a low-cost health insurance plan, call Cost-U-Less today. We offer cheap health insurance for California residents. If you are looking for low-income health insurance, call us today for a free California health insurance quote. Call now because when open enrollment ends, you will be subject to the new tax penalty. Call (800) 390-4071.

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