Questions about Enrolling Covered California or Medi-Cal
October 10, 2017 10:04 PM   Subscribe

I am a cancer patient and need to have high quality health insurance. My current plan (through my graduate school) ends in August 2018. Am I able to enroll in a plan for the remainder of 2018? And how do I make sure I have access to the same doctors and level of care?

I can't find answers to my particular question via the Covered California website. I just know that the enrollment date is approaching and I need to have this all figured out with no lapse in coverage or treatment.

Basically, how do I apply while explaining that I currently have insurance through the first half of 2018 but need it for the second half? And how do I choose a plan that will allow me to see my same oncologist team? I am certain I qualify for a low-income plan, probably Medi-Cal, as I was unemployed and in treatment for a while and earned next to nothing. However, I have some savings and because health is obviously my priority, I am willing to pay a bit per month if it means accessing a better plan. Just no idea how to do this.
posted by CancerSucks to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
You don't have to (in fact, can't) apply during open enrollment. Losing your healthcare next August will be what's called a "qualifying life event" and you will deal with getting coverage at that time. Here's Covered California's page on qualifying events.
posted by brainmouse at 10:09 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]

You can call your oncologist and ask if they take Medi-cal or any of the Covered California plans. (You need to ask by the name of the specific plan - there are so many). The plans have lists of in-network doctors but they are notoriously out of date.

I know Medi-Cal is great from a financial perspective - I have asked but haven't gotten in good answer on whether it is more of a problem to find in-network services than CC plans. Hope someone chimes in on that.
posted by metahawk at 10:47 PM on October 10

Ask at your oncologist's office if they have someone, like a social worker, who can help you navigate finding an appropriate new plan. Cancer patients are generally very profitable (because of things like chemotherapy) so it's not unusual for oncologists to have employees specifically to help their patients do exactly what you need to do.
posted by telegraph at 3:49 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

Neighborhood Legal Services in Los Angeles has a healthcare assistance project that I think can help you navigate the system and choose the best plan. I'm not sure if they serve the whole state, but if they don't and you aren't in LA, they should be able to refer you to the right organization. I have a friend who got assistance from them and was happy with their help.

Here's more about what they do wrt healthcare:
Contact info:

Also, while brainmouse is correct about qualifying events with regards to Covered California, Medi-Cal is different. If you qualify, you can enroll at any time - you don't need a qualifying event or open enrollment.
Consumers can sign up for Medi-Cal at any time. They do not need a special enrollment period to sign up for Medi-Cal. -
posted by insectosaurus at 9:15 AM on October 11

If you're in the Bay you can also call Bay Area Legal Aid's Health Consumer Center. (855) 693-7285 9-5 M-F. All Bay Area counties.
posted by peppercorn at 2:07 PM on October 11

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