Covered California’s open enrollment began November 1, 2017 and runs through Jan. 31, 2018. If you, your family members or friends need health insurance, this is the time for them to sign up or switch from your current Medi-Cal health insurance plan. Covered California offers financial assistance that can help reduce health care costs. Having health insurance brings peace of mind and you can be covered for all of 2018 if you sign up by December 15.

Covered California is the only place where an individual can get financial assistance to help pay for their health insurance. Last year, nearly nine out of 10 enrollees qualified for some level of financial help and in 2018, nearly 60 percent of subsidy-eligible enrollees will have access to Silver coverage for less than $100 per month — the same as it was in 2017 — and 74 percent can purchase Bronze coverage for less than $10 per month.

In addition, many Californians could qualify for Medi-Cal, which is free or low-cost health coverage for low-income Californians. Medi-Cal is health coverage, just like the coverage from Covered California health plans and if you qualify for Medi-Cal, your health care will be free or at a lower cost to you and your family. A single application on will let you know if you qualify for Covered California or Medi-Cal coverage.

Health insurance can be complicated. If you, your family members or friends need health coverage, they can get free, confidential assistance from Orchard Hospital’s patient financial counselor, Alba Rubio. You can begin by finding confidential in-person help from Alba by calling 530-797-3542 or by e-mail at