What is Covered California?

Covered California is a California marketplace to implement Obamacare. Obamacare is normally used to mean Covered California (Covered CA) but they are not the same thing. Obamacare is the law, the formal name of which is Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) signed into law to reform the health care industry by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010  and upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.  Think of Covered California like a store where you can shop subsidized health insurance plans from companies like Anthem, Blue Shield, Health Net, Kaiser, LA Care, etc.

Who is eligible?

  • As long as you are a California (California driver’s license,or California ID or CA student ID)
  • have a Social Security number
  • not incarcerated
  • have legal presence

Proof of legal presence

         For US Citizen

  • US born, you don’t even have to show proof unless Covered CA asks for it later.
  • If you are a US citizen but not US born, the best proof is the Certificate of Naturalization or the Certificate of Citizenship.
  • US passport is also very well accepted.

         Non-Us Citizen

  •  Permanent Resident card (Green card)
  • temporary I-551 stamp on passport
  • I-94 or I-94A
  • Employment Authorization card (Work permit)
  • I-20 of non-immigrant students.
  • For those who are petitioned, have not received the Green card yet but had already received their I-797.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has defined an affordable health plan as one that you  pay 8% or less of your income to have. To ensure that you have an affordable plan, Covered CA even provides premium assistance in their plans or put you under Medi-Cal if you are low income. The discussion below would be irrelevant if you are disqualified by income or uninterested with premium assistance; surely though, you can still have ACA plans.

 Even if a person is not eligible, perhaps because he has no legal presence, his info like name, birth date etc must still be presented. For example, a family of four (4) with undocumented parents who want to apply for their children can simply say the parents do not want health insurance but their info is still needed. People do not need to worry about Covered CA sharing their immigration or other info to institutions irrelevant to securing health insurance because Covered CA will not share it.The best rule of thumb is to include the info of all the taxpayers and dependents in a tax return in one Covered CA application.


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