California Health InsuranceIndividuals and Families

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California Health Insurance
How to find an affordable plan.

There are many options available for those looking for individual health insurance. The first choice is to decide between a two types of physician-networked insurance plans called, PPO plans and HMO plans. A PPO is a Preferred Provider Organization. If you choose to have coverage under a PPO plan, you will be working with a network of physicians under contract with the insurance company. PPOs will allow you to consult with a physician outside of their network, but will reduce the amount of the expenses they pay if you go outside the network. An HMO is a Health Maintenance Organization and tends to offer the most affordable health insurance options. With an HMO, you still work with a network of participating physicians, but unlike a PPO, the HMO generally offers no coverage if you go outside the network. California has several state-sponsored insurance programs that offer specialized coverage for those who are unable to obtain health insurance coverage and/or can not afford it. As a resident of California, you have access to health insurance coverage from most major insurance companies in the United States. There are many insurance companies that specialize in insuring California residents.

Leading California Health Insurance Companies

Aetna of California: Aetna is one of the largest health insurance companies in the country and they are dedicated to helping people achieve health and financial security by providing easy access to safe, cost-effective, high-quality health care and protecting their finances against health-related risks.

Blue Shield of California: For many years now, Blue Shield of California has been providing affordable health insurance coverage to residents all over the state.

Kaiser Permanente of California: Kaiser Permanente is the largest nonprofit health plan in the United States, based in Oakland, California and founded in 1945.

Health Insurance Coverage Options

There are many different types of health insurance coverage available. If you want coverage only for catastrophes, and not routine visits, you can obtain major medical insurance. Major medical insurance is a good option for California residents who wish to obtain cheap insurance for a catastrophic health event. With major medical coverage, the insurance company only pays for emergency or catastrophic illness and treatment, not for routine or preventative care.

If you work for a company with many employees, you can get group health insurance coverage. With group health insurance coverage, your employer may pay part of your premium and your policy will be underwritten as part of the group instead of as an individual. If you have health problems, group health insurance offers an affordable way to obtain a policy since you avoid scrutiny of your own health but instead is underwritten based on the experience of the group as a whole. Unfortunately, once you leave the group you can only be covered under COBRA for up to 18 months.

Individual insurance is the most portable, affordable and accessible choice for consumers. With individual health insurance, you can choose the plan that is right for you by choosing the benefits, deductibles, premiums and co-pays you need. Individual insurance also allows you to own the policy and can keep it as long as you pay your premium.

The state of California offers a tax subsidized program for the uninsurable called the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP). With MRMIP, California residents with preexisting conditions who can not get approved for individual health insurance policies have the opportunity to apply for coverage under the California major risk pool. There is a premium payment required once you are accepted, but your premiums are subsidized by taxes paid on tobacco products. This program is only open to residents who have no other option for insurance coverage (including COBRA).

California also offers a program for low income families with uninsured children. The Healthy Families Program provides health, dental and vision coverage to the children of parents who can not afford to purchase insurance for their children, but earn too much for public assistance (Medi-Cal). At this time, the coverage does not extend to the parents and the low premium payments are subsidized.

Another program offered to California residents and geared toward children is the Access for Infants and Mothers Program (AIM). AIM provides prenatal care to pregnant women as well as preventative care to keep pregnant women healthy. Low income pregnant women are asked to pay a low, subsidized premium for the coverage.

Health Insurance Exchanges in California

To learn more about the benefits of the Health Insurance Exchange in your state, click here

Resources and information

California Medicare Plans

Seniors age 65 and older are eligible for a variety of Medicare plans in Ohio.  Medicare plan options include Medigap and Medicare Advantage policies:

California Doctor Directory

Doctors practicing medicine in the State of California are licensed by the state. Doctors accept different forms of health insurance which you can verify before setting an appointment.

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