Alameda County, California Obamacare Guide
What California Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2020
UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Covered California is OPEN until July 31 for new health insurance signups.
This website provides information about getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:
- whether you must get health insurance
- what the available plans cover
- how much coverage will cost
- how to sign up for a plan
- how to get help if you need it.
To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in California:
1. California law requires you to have health insurance.
The federal tax penalty for going without health insurance ended in 2019, but a handful of states, including California, have enacted laws to replace it. If you are uninsured in 2020 and you don't qualify for an exemption, you'll face a penalty when you file your California taxes in 2021.
How To Sign Up for Obamacare in California
To sign up for a health plan under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) you can go directly to the online health insurance marketplace for California at Covered California -- or you can get help in person or over the phone.
For 2020 health plans, California open enrollment ended on January 31, 2020. However, you may still be able to purchase health insurance for this year if you qualify for a special enrollment period; see What Happens If I Missed the Enrollment Deadline for 2020?
Where's the California Health Care Exchange?
You can find the health insurance exchange for California at Covered California. This is where you can learn about the various health insurance options available to you under Obamacare. If you see a plan you like, you'll be guided through the enrollment process online.
Getting In-Person Help with Enrollment
In California, if you need help understanding your options for coverage under Obamacare or signing up for a plan, you can get free assistance from a certified enrollment counselor or from a licensed health insurance agent or broker.
Enrollment counselors can explain your options, answer your questions, and help you apply for the plan you choose -- but they can't recommend a specific plan for you.