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Health Insurance in California

Covered California, California’s state-run health insurance exchange, has been highly successful since its establishment under the Affordable Care Act. In the 2022 open enrollment period, over 1.8 million people enrolled in private plans through the exchange, surpassing previous enrollment totals.
In 2019, California enacted legislation to create a state-based individual mandate and premium subsidy program, which both began in 2020. The individual mandate includes a non-compliance penalty similar to the federal penalty in 2018. California allocated $295 million in state funds for premium subsidies for those earning between 400% and 600% of the poverty level, but these subsidies were unnecessary in 2021 due to additional federal subsidies from the American Rescue Plan. Currently, there are no state-funded subsidies available for Covered California enrollees. Learn more about California’s health insurance marketplace.

Introduction to Life Insurance and Annuities

To make informed decisions before purchasing life insurance policies or annuity contracts, consumers should first consider their needs and understand the available insurance products. This guide is designed to help consumers understand the benefits and risks involved in financial planning, and the different types of policies and contracts available. You can learn more about life insurance policies or annuity contracts from licensed agents or companies. The California Department of Insurance also offers a toll-free hotline and website for further information and assistance. 

Top Ten Tips for Finding Home Insurance

The California Department of Insurance acknowledges the difficulty in finding residential insurance in areas with a high risk of wildfires, but they cannot force insurers to write policies in certain areas. However, they can monitor insurers’ decisions to ensure they are based on risk and not biases. They offer tips such as contacting the insurer for ways to mitigate risk and retain coverage, filing a complaint if you feel unfairly nonrenewed, and utilizing resources like the Residential Insurance Company Contact List, Find an Agent or Broker tool, and Home Insurance Finder toolFor more detailed information, please visit The California Department of Insurance website.

California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance Program

In California, all drivers are required to have proof of financial responsibility while operating a vehicle. To assist low-income drivers in meeting this requirement, the California Legislature established the Low Cost Automobile Program (CLCA) in 1999. This program offers affordable liability insurance to eligible individuals who are unable to afford standard insurance premiums. Unfortunately, many low-income drivers remain uninsured due to the high cost of traditional insurance. To address this issue, it is important to explore affordable options that can help protect yourself and your loved ones.

Effective January 1, 2015, a new law (SB 1273) was passed, which allows drivers with less than three years of driving experience to participate in the CLCA program. The law also increased the maximum vehicle value from $20,000 to $25,000. To learn more about the CLCA program, please visit

Frequently asked questions about health insurance coverage options in California

Yes, you can purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company, but you will not be eligible for subsidies. It’s important to compare plans and costs from both Covered California and insurance companies before making a decision.

In 2019, California enacted legislation establishing a three-month open enrollment period for health insurance, running from November 1 to January 31 each year. Additionally, in 2022, California passed a law (S.B.1473) allowing enrollees to sign up as late as December 31 and still have coverage effective January 1, unlike most states which have a December 15 deadline. Outside of open enrollment, individuals can enroll in private individual/family plans through Covered California or insurance companies via a special enrollment period, with subsidies only available through Covered California. Medicaid (Medi-Cal) enrollment is open year-round, and Native Americans can enroll in qualified health plans at any time. 

If you cannot afford health insurance coverage in California, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the state’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. You can apply for Medi-Cal at any time of the year. Additionally, there are other options for low-cost or free health care services in California.

You can only enroll in health insurance outside of the open enrollment period if you qualify for a special enrollment period due to certain life events, such as losing your job or getting married.

California offers various types of health insurance plans, including HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS plans. Each plan has different costs, benefits, and provider networks.

Yes, subsidies are available for those who qualify based on income and household size. These subsidies can help lower the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs of health insurance plans purchased through Covered California.

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