Health Insurance Is More Than an Insurance Card: Tips for Using Your Coverage

You enrolled in health insurance through Covered California, and now you have a pathway to receiving the health care you need and deserve.

So what comes next?

“Health coverage means more than just having an insurance card from the carrier you’ve chosen,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “It means you can get real care, at the right time and at an affordable price. We want people to use it.”

Here are a few things to know:

· After you enroll and pay your first premium, your health insurance company will send you a welcome packet with important information about your coverage and a member ID card.

· If you have not chosen a primary care physician within the first 60 days of coverage, one will be chosen for you to get you started on the path to wellness. Contact your health insurance company to find an in-network provider. It will cost you less than a provider not in your network would.

· Make an appointment to see your doctor and bring your member ID card with you.

· Your health plan includes free preventive services for you and your family, helping you detect and prevent small problems before they become big health risks. Free services include blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, tests for common diseases like Type 2 diabetes, mammograms and cervical cancer screenings, and breastfeeding support and equipment. For children, vision and hearing screenings and common vaccinations.

· There may be additional costs for some services. At doctor’s visits, you could be responsible for a copay. This is your share of the costs for the care. Contact your health plan to learn more.

“Because of the Affordable Care Act, and through Covered California, health care is no longer a privilege but a right,” Lee said. “And the time to use your coverage is now.”

For more information about your health coverage and how to use it, please go to

Open enrollment ended recently with 423,484 plan selections, which represents a 3 percent increase over last year. Since 2014, more than 3.4 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, and nearly 4 million have enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program. Together, the gains have cut the rate of the uninsured in California from 17 percent in 2013 to a historic low of 6.8 percent as of June 2017.

Although open enrollment for coverage in 2018 has ended, you or someone you know may still qualify to enroll in a quality, affordable health plan through Covered California if you’ve experienced a qualifying life event.

Qualifying events include losing your Medi-Cal coverage or losing your employer-sponsored coverage, exhausting your COBRA coverage, turning 26 years old and no longer being eligible for a parent’s plan, moving to or within California, or having a baby or adopting a child. For other qualifying events, visit:

Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round, so you’re encouraged to shop any time.

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