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Enrollment in Health Care Reform - Santa Barbara County

What should I know about Health Care Reform?

  • Health Care Reform was signed into law in 2010.
  • There are many parts of the law that have already been implemented.
  • The biggest changes began on January 1, 2014.

What were the biggest changes beginning in January 2014?

  • All US citizens and legal immigrants will be required to have health insurance (with few exceptions).
  • For people who do not get health insurance, there will be a penalty.

What will my choices be for health care insurance?

  • Most people who get health care insurance from their work will not have a change.  Employers will continue to offer a number of health insurance options.
  • People over the age of 65 will continue to have Medicare and other options for additional health insurance.
  • Residents under the age of 64 years will have new choices for health insurance.  There is an enhanced government program under Medi-Cal and there are new options through a Health Benefits Exchange, Covered California .

Where can I learn more about Health Care Reform?


Medi-Cal is California's version of the federal Medicaid health coverage program. Medi-Cal plays an essential role in California's health care system by ensuring that children and adults with limited income and resources can receive the medical services they need, at little or no cost to them.

Eligibility has been expanded. Since January 2014, Medi-Cal coverage is now available to citizens and legal residents earning up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, including childless adults that were ineligible under the former law. Foster youth are now eligible for coverage until age 26, instead of age 18 (or 21 if they participate in Extended Foster Care). As before, special programs are available to help pregnant women, the terminally ill, those needing long-term care, and the aged, blind, and disabled.

How can I apply?  You can submit an application online or visit one of our five offices.

Where can I learn more or find out if I will be eligible for Medi-Cal?  To learn if you are eligible for enhanced Medi-Cal, contact the Department of Social Services.


What is Covered California?

  • Covered California is the name of California's Health Benefits Exchange established under the Health Care Reform law.
  • Covered California has negotiated with health insurance companies throughout the state.  They have a number of insurance options available for residents to purchase health insurance.

What are the health insurance options for Santa Barbara County residents?

  • There are two different companies in our region including: Anthem Blue Cross California and Blue Shield of California.
  • Each company has five choices for health care coverage including four tiers and catastrophic coverage.
  • The more costly the plan, the smaller the out of pocket co-pays for the patient with each visit or service received.

Who will get financial assistance paying for health insurance coverage?

  • Residents who make between 138% and 400% of the federal poverty level will receive some government assistance to pay for health insurance coverage through Covered California.  (That is about $97,000 annually for a family of four).

Where can I learn more about Covered California and the options for health insurance?

  • Go to the Covered California website at www.coveredca.com .
  • Go to the  www.HealthCare.gov website.
  • Call Covered California at 1-800-300-1506 to speak with someone in English or Spanish.