California Programs for People with Low Incomes or Special Needs
California has several programs, each of which is designed to meet the healthcare needs of a certain group of people. Each program has different eligibility criteria depending on family income and health status. These programs include:
AIM Program (Access for Infants and Mothers)
Affordable medical coverage for low- and middle-income pregnant women and their newborns.
1-800-433-2611 (many languages)
Healthcare foundation that provides premium subsidized health care services to children ages 2 – 18
California Children’s Services (CCS)
Medical care for children with certain disabilities and medical conditions.
Find out more about Medicare in California and financial assistance for Medicare beneficiaries.
1-888-430-2423 (Spanish) (documents only)
www.cahealthadvocates.org (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese)
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Federal government site with details on Medi-Cal and CalMedicare.
County Medical Services Program (CMSP)
Health care services provided through county health department offices to low-income residents.
Family planning and reproductive services for Californians without coverage.
Medical and dental coverage for children in low-income households offering a comprehensive set of benefits.
1-800-880-5305 (many languages)
The state Medicaid program, Medi-Cal offers comprehensive health insurance for Californians with low income or disabilities, funded by the state and federal governments. Find out more about Medi-Cal through your county health department.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
PPA provides people who take prescriptions financial aid to afford medication.
RX Help for CA
Assistance for those who have no prescription insurance and take medication.
Coverage for All
Assistance with finding free and low-cost health care for individuals, families and small businesses.
MRMIP (California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program)
Details and enrollment information for the state’s health insurance program for uninsurable people with high-risk health conditions.
1-800-289-6574 (many languages)
Planning for Medical Expenses
When you are in need of a medical service, and know you will be paying out-of-pocket, it is advisable to estimate your costs in advance. However, it can be difficult to find out what you will end up owing. At times, you may face more than one service fee, for instance, if you see a doctor at a clinic, there may be a separate fee for the doctor and the facility.
- Find out what the service may cost from your provider.
- Find out if there is a reduced price for those who pay with cash or a credit card, and if you can make payments.
- All hospitals are required to offer a list of its top 25 most performed services, including outpatient surgery, exams, and other treatments. Such lists are available through the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development website.
- According to state law, hospitals are required to provide a written estimate of hospital charges for people who are uninsured. They are also liable to provide people with public assistance and charity program information.