How to Sign Up

Covered California is a whole new way for you to get an individual health plan. In the past you had to call up each individual insurance company or go through an insurance broker if you wanted to buy your own health insurance, but now Covered California provides a one-stop shop where you can compare plans and figure out which one is right for you. Also, remember that it is the only place where you can get government help to pay for your individual plan.

Getting started with Covered California

When you first look at Covered California , just try to get a sense of what your options are so that you can make an informed decision when you are ready. As you use Covered California, there may be times when you will be confused or even think there is a mistake. There are people who can help answer your questions. Get help by calling Covered California at 1-800-300-1506 or 1-888-889-4500 (TTY) or get local help. You can also use the Online Chat feature if you want to copy-and-paste a record of what was said. It is important to make sure that you get the best and most affordable plan for your situation.

Open enrollment

Open enrollment for individual plans has ended for this year. People in certain situations can still sign up for a health plan under special enrollment rules.

Usually, you can only sign up for an insurance plan through Covered California during a certain time called open enrollment. To sign up for an individual plan that will cover you during 2020, you must sign up between October 15, 2019 and January 15, 2020.

If you do not sign up during that time, you will usually not be allowed to sign up for an individual plan through Covered California until another year has passed. That means you might not be able to get coverage for an entire year.

Special Enrollment

There are certain situations when you can sign up for an individual plan through Covered California even though it is not the usual open enrollment period:

  • If you lose other health coverage you had
  • If your health provider is not meeting its obligations
  • If your income changes and you gain or lose eligibility for government help paying for your coverage
  • If you become a legal resident of the United States
  • If you move
  • If there was a mistake in your enrollment
  • In other life-changing circumstances, such as having a child or getting married

Note: American Indians do not have these restrictions on enrollment.

Visit Covered California

The best way for you to get an idea of what you could get through Covered California is for you to browse its website or call the Covered California call center at 1-800-300-1506 or 1-888-889-4500 (TTY).

You don’t have to sign up for a plan immediately, unless the open enrollment period is about to end. What you should do is research the options listed and get good advice about other alternatives.

When you should not use Covered California

Before you start looking into an individual plan, make sure you talk with your employer to see if your family is covered by an employer-sponsored plan. If you are, you will not be eligible to get government help paying for an individual plan.