Department of Social Services

Health Care Reform

Health Coverage for you and your family

On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Health Care Reform, became federal law. It initiated the most significant changes in the U.S. health care system since the establishment of Medicare in 1965. It expanded health care coverage and availability to nearly all Americans, whether through their employer, Medicare, Medi-Cal, or the new statewide health insurance marketplace, called Covered California. The Department of Social Services is responsible for enrolling new clients in Medi-Cal, and also provides assistance to customers seeking health insurance enrollment with Covered California. Below is some information on what you need to know about health care reform.

Medi-Cal Expansion

In January 2014, Medi-Cal coverage expanded to persons earning up to 138% of Federal Poverty Level, including childless adults that were ineligible under the former law. Additionally, foster youth are now eligible for coverage until age 26, instead of age 18 (or 21 if they participate in Extended Foster Care). The coverage is free for those who qualify, and applications are accepted at any time of the year. For more information, please visit our Medi-Cal webpage.

On May 1, 2014, dental benefits for adults 21 and over were restored by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Visit MyBenefits CalWIN to find out if you might be eligible, or call 866-404-4007.
Visit the Department of Health Care Services website to see how many people have applied for the Medi-Cal expansion. 

Covered CaliforniaCoveredCAlogo

Legal residents who do not have health insurance from their employer or another government program can purchase health insurance through the state insurance exchange, Covered California. In addition to offering a variety of health insurance choices, Covered California also offers tax credits and subsidies to qualifying enrollees. Residents began enrolling through Covered California on October 1, 2013, with coverage starting on January 1, 2014. Open enrollment for 2014 coverage ended March 31, 2014. Open enrollment for 2015 will begin in Fall 2014. To answer your questions, call 888-975-1142, or visit

Outside of the open enrollment period, residents can only enroll for health insurance within 60 days of a qualifying life event. Qualifying life events include, but are not limited to: marriage, birth, permanent move, and loss of employer-provided coverage. For more information call 888-975-1142, or visit

Watch a thank you video from Covered California.

The following chart can help you determine what type of health coverage you may qualify for:

Income table


Helpful Links

Read this Quick Reference Guide (En Español) for a brief description of Health Care Reform, along with local contact numbers.

View this short informational Video (En Español) for an explanation of the basics of Health Care Reform.

Visit for more information from the federal government about Health Care Reform.

This Fact Sheet contains more information about Covered California.

This Benefits Comparison has information on health care plans offered by Covered California. Use this Shop and Compare Tool to see what health insurance plans you can buy, and whether you qualify for monthly premium assistance or Medi-Cal.

Read these Frequently Asked Questions.

Did you know? There is a nutritional assistance program called CalFresh (formerly known as food stamps) that helps qualified households and individuals buy the food they need in order to maintain adequate nutritional levels. Those who qualify for Medi-Cal often qualify for CalFresh benefits as well. Benefits are provided on an electronic card that is used like a bank debit card and accepted at many markets and food stores, as well as some Farmer’s Markets. Visit MyBenefits CalWIN to find out if you might be eligible to receive CalFresh assistance.  Calfresh_logo



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