Buying health insurance on your own can be overwhelming. There are several ways you can apply for health insurance in person, by phone, or online, or through a certified insurance agent, enrollment counselor, or directly through a health plan.
If you have a doctor or group of doctors you have been seeing or would like to see, be sure they are in the health plan's network. Always be sure to verify if with the insurance plan your doctor is in network.
Because health plan and network information may change, we recommend confirming your choice is available in your area by contacting the health plan's customer service number listed on their website.
View information about Employer Group health plans
Blue Shield HMO TRIO
Blue Shield PPO
Health Net EPO
Dominican Home Health – Santa Cruz
Dignity Health Medical Network
Dignity Health is not a health insurance company. Dignity Health is a provider network of more than 60,000 caregivers and staff who deliver excellent care to diverse communities in hospitals, physician offices and other types of care centers in 21 states. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California.
It's a good idea to confirm your doctor and your hospital of choice are covered by your new insurance for the upcoming year by checking the insurance website or calling your insurance carrier directly. Do not assume your physician is covered without checking first. Doctors and hospitals may periodically change the insurance they accept.
The Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as the Health Insurance Exchange) is a way Americans can compare and shop for health insurance. Some may even be able to get help paying for that insurance. In California, the exchange is Covered California.
To be eligible: You must live in the U.S.You must be a U.S. citizen or national, or a lawful resident. Even if you don't qualify because you are not a U.S. citizen, other members of your family might be eligible for coverage. There is no penalty for applying, and your information will not be used for any purpose other than determining if you and your family members qualify for health coverage. Also, health plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace aren't the only new form of coverage available. Even if you cannot afford to purchase insurance through the exchanges, you may still qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Even now, many Americans who qualify for these programs are not currently enrolled.
You have many ways to apply: in person, over the phone, or online. If you would like assistance, the state and federal exchanges have certified enrollment assistance available both in person and over the phone. Assistance is available at no cost to you. You may apply directly online and you can complete the application process at coveredca.com.
Once I've enrolled, how quickly does new health coverage into effect? Once you've enrolled, coverage will begin the first of each month as long as you have enrolled by the 15th of the previous month. If you enroll after the 15th of the month, coverage will begin on the first of the following month. For example, if you enroll for coverage on Dec 15, your coverage will go into effect on Jan 1. If you enroll for coverage on Dec 16, your coverage will go into effect February 1.
If you enroll in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for financial assistance. The amount of money you would have to pay each month depends on your income. The same application used to determine the coverage options you qualify for will also tell you how much financial help you can get.
Health insurance plans are sold in four primary levels of coverage: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. They present a range of options. At one end is Bronze, with the lowest monthly premium, but with higher copays and deductibles when you need medical care. At the other end is Platinum, in which enrollees pay higher monthly premiums but pay less when they need medical care. You can choose the level of coverage that best meets your health needs and budget.
Whether you purchased coverage during Open Enrollment in the last year or two, or you began coverage due to a qualifying event in between Open Enrollment periods, it's a good idea to assess your coverage each year. The Open Enrollment period, which generally begins in November and runs through January, is the only time you can make a change unless you have a qualifying event like getting married, moving, or having a child. The health plan options available in your area can change each Open Enrollment. By taking the time to shop around you may find a carrier or plan which will cost less each month or less when you access services.