Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

Covered California

When can I sign up for health insurance?

You can only apply for individual Covered California plans during Open Enrollment, which usually begins October 15 and lasts until January 15. The only time you can enroll outside of this period is if you have a special qualifying life event, like loss of a job, marriage, birth of a baby, etc. Think you might be eligible for Medi-cal? You can apply for this any time of the year, even outside of Open Enrollment.

Will I get a membership ID card?

If you are newly enrolled in a health insurance plan through Covered California, you will receive a membership ID card from your health insurance company after it receives your first payment. Learn more about what to expect on the Using Your Plan page. If you change coverage, such as metal tiers or health insurance companies, your health insurance company will send you a new welcome packet and health insurance card after receiving payment.

Can I get help with my application or with choosing a plan?

Yes! Help is free. Get help with your application or with choosing a plan:

  • By phone: Call us at (800) 650-0922. The call is free.
  • In person: We have trained certified insurance agents who can help you. This help is free! For a list of places near where you live or work, visit

Which free preventive services are available in the health plans through Covered California?

A comprehensive list of free preventive care available in all health plans through Covered California can be found on the Using Your Plan page.

When can I renew my plan?

Health insurance plans only last for a year, so if you want to continue being covered, it’s important to renew during Open Enrollment. Some plans renew automatically, while others require you to resubmit your info. Usually your health insurance company will send you a reminder before Open Enrollment begins, but it’s always a good idea to check what your plan’s renewal process is. If you got your health insurance through Covered California, it’s a good idea to review your information before the end of Open Enrollment. Make sure to update any changes to your income and household information, because this can impact which plans and subsidies that may be available to you.

I received a Form 1095-A from Covered California. What is Form 1095-A?

Form 1095-A is a document you will need when you prepare your taxes. Click here to learn more about it.

Does Covered California offer dental and vision coverage?

All Covered California health insurance plans come with children’s dental coverage embedded in the health plan. In addition, Covered California offers optional family dental plans that provide dental benefits for adults. All Covered California health insurance plans include children’s vision care. In addition, Covered California now offers consumers a direct pathway to quality vision coverage. Click here for more information.

When will I get my bill?

Depending on the plan you select, you may be able to pay your first bill when you apply for coverage online. All future bills must be paid directly to the plan, not through your Covered California account. If you do not pay your first bill online, your health insurance company will send you a bill about two weeks after it receives your application or renewal. The payment due date will be printed on the bill. Please send your payment to your health insurance company before the deadline. If you pay your bill by mail, be sure you send it in time for the insurance company to receive your payment by the payment date printed on the bill. Your health insurance company also may accept payment through the phone or online, which would be faster than mailing your payment. Contact your health insurance company for more information about payment options.

Once I'm enrolled, how do I use my plan? What do I do next?

View the Using Your Plan page to learn about all of the benefits of being enrolled and how to use your plan.

Is Covered California an insurance company?

No. Covered California is where Californians can get brand-name health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and see if they qualify for financial subsidies from the federal government to help them pay their monthly premiums.

Does Covered California offer health coverage for small businesses?

Yes. Visit the Covered California for Small Business section of our website to learn about the benefits for small businesses and their employees.

What if I choose not to get health insurance?

Beginning in 2020, having health coverage is the law. If you don’t have it, you may have to pay a penalty to the California Franchise Tax Board. Generally speaking, the penalty will be $695 per each adult and $347.50 per each dependent child under 18 in the household (up to $2,085 per family) or more when you file your 2020 state income tax return in 2021.

Am I eligible for Covered California?

Any legal resident of California can apply for health coverage through the Covered California health insurance marketplace.

How do I apply?

If you need a health plan in California, you can receive help from our certified insurance agents in person or over the phone at (800) 650-0922. Before you do, make sure to have the following information handy for every member of your household you’d like covered:

  • Full name, as it appears on your Social Security card
  • Birth date
  • Social Security number (SSN)
  • Residential address
  • Telephone number
  • Email for primary applicant
  • If you’re a naturalized citizen: The number from your certificate of citizenship/naturalization (located at the upper right-hand corner) and your alien number (located just below, beginning with an “A”)
  • If you’re not a citizen but have a visa/green card/foreign passport: Your alien/USCIS number and I-94/visa/green card/passport number
  • Tax and income information
  • How you file your taxes (i.e., as an individual, family, etc.)
  • All employer names and addresses
  • The projected income earned by each household member who has a job (if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to provide your average monthly income)
  • Social Security and unemployment income
  • Any other additional income, like interest, IRA, alimony, etc.
  • Any deductions on your tax returns

Can I apply for Covered California if I don't have a Social Security number?

Yes. You can apply for Covered California coverage if you’re lawfully present even without a Social Security number (SSN) as long as one of the following is true:

  • You’ve applied for a SSN
  • You don’t qualify for a SSN due to your immigration status
  • You do not want to provide your SSN for religious reasons
If you don’t use a SSN when you apply, you’ll need to provide appropriate documentation within 90 days.

Can I get financial assistance with Covered California?

When you sign up on the Covered California health insurance marketplace, you’ll find out if you qualify for subsidies. You can then use that financial assistance toward the plan you purchase. Just remember, these subsidies aren’t fixed and can fluctuate throughout the year as your income changes.

Is Covered California and Obamacare the same thing?

Covered California is the state's Obamacare exchange. This means your Obamacare plan options are the same as your Covered California options. The plans on Covered California are divided by carrier and into four different metal tiers — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.