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Medi-Cal Insurance: What Is Medi-Cal?

a doctor holds a stethescope with their arms crossed

California’s Medicaid health care program is known as Medi-Cal. It pays for a range of medical services for both adults and children with limited income and resources. It is supported by state and federal taxes, designed to assist Californians in various family and medical situations.

If you are interested in learning more about Medi-Cal, this blog post is for you. Here, your expert team at Apex Recovery Rehab in San Diego will highlight everything you need to know about Medi-Cal.

Let’s get started with our emergency Medi-Cal insurance guide.

What Is Medi-Cal?

As noted above, Medi-Cal provides low-cost or free health coverage for California residents who meet eligibility requirements. The majority of applicants who apply through Covered California and enroll in Medi-Cal will be able to receive care through managed health plans. The Medi-Cal program is overseen by the Department of Health Care Services.

Traditionally, Medi-Cal has covered families, pregnant women, and low-income children. Since 2014, it has also included low-income adults. A person is eligible to apply for Medi-Cal benefits regardless of their race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, or veteran status.

What Are the Requirements to Get Medi-Cal?

There are certain criteria and rules that a person must meet in order to qualify for Medi-Cal.

Applicants must provide income and tax filing status information for all members of their family and in their tax returns (it is not necessary to file taxes in order to qualify for Medi-Cal). It may also be necessary to provide information about their property.

If a person has one, they must provide their Social Security Number (SSN). People aged 19 years or older may qualify for limited benefits even if they do not have an SSN or are unable to prove their immigration status. These benefits include long-term care, emergency, and pregnancy-related services.

Even if an adult does not qualify for full coverage, they are able to apply for Medi-Cal for their child. There are different types of Medi-Cal programs, which we will highlight in the next section.


MAGI is an acronym that stands for Modified Adjusted Gross Income. This method used federal tax rules to determine if a person qualifies based on how they file their taxes and their countable income.

Under MAGI, the following people are eligible:

  • Children under 19 years
  • Parents and caregivers of minor children
  • Pregnant individuals
  • Adults 19 through 64 years

There are no property limits under MAGI. Non-MAGI Medi-Cal includes many special programs and people who are not eligible for MAGI may qualify for Non-MAGI Medi-Cal. The following people are eligible for Non-MAGI Medi-Cal:

  • Adults aged 65 years or older
  • Children under 21
  • Pregnant
  • Parent/caretaker relative of an age-eligible child
  • Adult or child in a long-term care facility
  • People who get Medicare
  • Blind or have a disability

Under Non-MAGI Medi-Cal, a person must give proof of property such as vehicles, rental homes, and bank accounts.

How Much Does Medi-Cal Cost?​​​​

For many people who enroll in Medi-Cal, there are:

  • No premium
  • No out-of-pocket costs
  • No co-payment

For some households, there will be a low monthly premium. Some children will have monthly premiums of $13 (up to a maximum of $39 per family per month).

Generally speaking, people with Medi-Cal will get the same health benefits that are available through Covered California at a lower cost. Next, let’s look at the similarities and differences in coverage between Covered California and Med-Cal.

Medi-Cal vs. Covered California

Medi-Cal provides benefits similar to Covered California’s coverage options, however typically at a lower cost or at no cost to a person or their family. The health plans offered by Medi-Cal or through Covered California include the same set of comprehensive benefits known as essential health benefits. These include:

  • Emergency services
  • Outpatient services
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription drugs
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services
  • Pediatric services (including vision and oral care)
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services
  • Chronic disease management

90% of people rate Medi-Cal as either “good” or “very good,” highlighting its popularity among the public.

How to Apply for Medi-Cal?

Medi-Cal can be applied for at any time of the year. A person can apply in person, online, or through the mail, phone, email, or fax. To apply in person, search for your local county office here.

It can take up to 45 days for a Medi-Cal application to be processed. For people who apply based on disability, it may take up to 90 days.

Once you have been approved, you can use the Medi-Cal benefits immediately. Medi-Cal covers most medically necessary care, which includes:

  • Doctor and dentist appointments
  • Prescription drugs
  • Vision care
  • Family planning
  • Mental health care
  • Drug or alcohol treatment

Transportation to these services is also covered through Medi-Cal.

Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Medi-Cal Insurance

The bottom line is that Medi-Cal insurance offers low-cost or free health services to eligible people in California. It emphasizes prevention-oriented health care that promotes health and well-being. Emergency Medi-Cal insurance also works to ensure that people receive the right care at the right time.​

If you are looking for professional treatment for alcoholism, mental health, or substance abuse, your premier choice in San Diego is Apex Recovery Rehab. Since 2013, we have worked to provide the best possible evidence-based individual treatment and recovery to patients.

Contact our professional and experienced team today to schedule a free consultation. We are here to assist you through this difficult process. Don’t wait another day to get your life back.

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 619.458.3435