Medi-Cal Fundamentals

Getting you off to the right start!

What is Medi-Cal?

Medi-Cal is the California version of a federal program called Medicaid. It’s a publicly funded health insurance program covering low-income adults, families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, children in foster care as well as former foster youth up to age 26, and pregnant women. Read more about Medi-Cal here.

Am I eligible for Medi-Cal?

Eligibility is determined by your county social services agency. You might qualify for Medi-Cal if you earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level. In 2016, that’s $16,395 for one person, $22,108 for 2 persons, and so on. Here’s more information on Medi-Cal eligibility.

How can I apply for Medi-Cal and get my Benefits card?

You can apply for Medi-Cal online at e-Benefits California, or at Covered California or in person through your local county social services agency. Here is a link that lists all the social services agencies by county in California. It may take a long time for your application to be processed and get your Benefits Identification Card (BIC). If you have a health problem and still don’t have your card, check out this critical info for Pending Applicants and Newly Enrolled Members to get the care you need.

How much will Medi-Cal cost me?

It depends on your situation. Many people pay no premiums, deductibles or co-pays. Others may pay very affordable monthly premiums. Your county eligibility worker can explain. Click here to get more information on Medi-Cal costs and FAQs.

Are Medi-Cal and Covered California the same?

No, Medi-Cal is a social safety net for poor and disabled people. Covered California is a marketplace to sell private health insurance. The coverage offered by both is intended to be very similar. But if you buy insurance from Covered California, you might get your premium subsidized, depending on your income. If you lose Medi-Cal eligibility (maybe because your income goes up), check with Covered California. You might save money on your premium! Click here for more Covered California FAQs.


And what about Medicaid, Medi-Cal, and Medicare?

They are all types of public health insurance. Medicaid is for the very poor, and it’s managed by the state where you live so benefits and rules can vary. Eligibility is primarily based on income. Getting qualified takes a lot of paperwork. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid. Medicare, on the other hand, is for citizens aged 65 or older no matter how much they earn. It only takes about 10 minutes to sign up online. It’s administered by the federal government, so the rules are the same across the country. Learn more here about Medicare.

And finally, what's Medicare for All?

It’s healthcare that would cover everybody for everything - simple, affordable, no paperwork, no hassles. Sign up below to learn more about how to HEAL California with Medicare for All!