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Help for the Uninsured in California

If you do not have California medical insurance, find out about low-cost or no-cost medical insurance and other resources for you and your family. There are many resources in California. The ones listed here may help you.

If you think you may lose your medical insurance, try to keep it or get new insurance in less than 60 days. Read about COBRA and HIPAA.

Know your California medical insurance costs

Resources for People with Low or No Incomes

AIM Program (Access for Infants and Mothers)
A state program with low-cost medical insurance for low- and middle-income pregnant women and their newborns
1-800-433-2611 (many languages) (Spanish)

Medicalcare foundation that provides premium subsidized medical care services to children ages 2 - 18

California Children's Services (CCS)
A state program that treats children with certain disabilities and medical problems

Information on Medicare in California and financial aid for Medicare members
1-888-430-2423 (Spanish) (publications only) (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese)

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Government agency with information on Medi-Cal (California's name for Medicaid)

County Medical Services Program (CMSP)
County program with medical care for people who qualify because of low incomes
Contact your local county medical department

Family Pact
Family planning and reproductive services

Medicaly Families
State program with low-cost medical and dental insurance for children in low-income families
1-800-880-5305 (many languages)

Kaiser Cares For Kids
Medicalcare foundation that provides premium subsidized medical care services to children ages 2 - 18

State and federal program with medical care for people who qualify because of low or no incomes and/or costly disabilities
1-800-541-5555 (Spanish)
1-916-636-1980 (many languages)
1-866-784-2595 (TTY)

General Resources

California Uninsured Help Line
Help finding no-cost and low-cost California medical care for individuals, families and small businesses

Consumer's Guide to Getting and Keeping Medical Insurance in California
Information on insurance, including low-cost medical care

County Medical Departments
A list of local county medical departments to call about no-cost and low-cost medical care services

MRMIP (California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program)
Information on California's insurance program for people with serious medical problems who have difficulty buying individual medical insurance because of their medical history
1-800-289-6574 (many languages)
1-800-735-2929 (TTY)

Know Your Costs

If you need medical care and you have to pay for it yourself, try to find out how much you will have to pay. Sometimes it is hard to find out costs. And there may be more than one charge, such as one charge from the doctor and another from the hospital or clinic:

  • Every hospital must provide a list of its 25 most common procedures. These include inpatient services, like hip surgery, as well as outpatient services, like cataract surgery or colonoscopy. You can read these lists on the Office of Statewide Medical Planning and Development website.
  • The law says that a hospital must give you a written estimate of hospital charges if you do not have insurance. The hospital must also give you information on financial aid programs and charity care.
  • Ask your doctor for the code for the service you need, or where to get the code. Call the provider who will give you the service. Give the provider the code, and ask what you will have to pay.
  • If you need a procedure, call the clinic, lab, or hospital where the procedure will be done. Ask for the department that sets prices for people who are paying for themselves. Give the code for the service and ask the cost.
  • Ask if there is a discount for people who pay with cash or credit card. Ask if you can make payments.

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