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Home > Information Uninsured

Information for the Uninsured 


A new law requires that most Americans get or have health insurance starting January 1, 2014.  The new law also made it easier for many people to get health insurance.  


Find out about the changes on OPA's health care reform page or view more information about the law at

Get health insurance

Several organizations can help you determine your insurance options and apply for coverage.


  • Shop for a health plan through Covered California, a new health insurance marketplace. Covered California will help you find out if you qualify for low-cost programs or for tax credits to help pay your premiums. There are enrollment counselors in your community who can help you apply. Visit for more information and to preview health plans.
  • Contact the California Consumer Assistance Program at 1-888-466-2219 for a referral to free local assistance to help you get insurance.
  • Contact the Health Consumer Alliance for free local assistance. To find the office nearest you, go to

Learn more about choosing the right health plan...

Need care now? Getting services without insurance:

No-Cost or Low-Cost Health Services

Services for the uninsured

  • Call 9-1-1 or drive to the emergency department at your nearest hospital if you have an emergency. It is an emergency if waiting to get care could be dangerous to your life or a part of your body. By law, a hospital must provide emergency care. You may get a bill. Ask about discounted or charitable hospital care.
  • Get urgent care or primary care services through a community health center, clinic or public hospital. Urgent care is when it's not an emergency, but you need care within a day or two. Primary care includes regular check-ups and appointments for common conditions.

Search for no-cost or low-cost services in your area:


Doctor and Hospital Bills

Paying for services

If possible, find out from your doctor or hospital about costs before you get care. Hospitals and providers charge different prices for the same services. Ask about discounts and charity care if you cannot afford to pay.

  • The law says that a hospital must give you a written estimate of hospital charges if you do not have insurance. The hospital must also give you information about financial aid programs and charity care.
  • It is often hard to get exact costs ahead of time. There may be more than one charge for different parts of the care. Sometimes during your appointment or surgery, your doctor will find that different services are needed than what was expected.
  • Every hospital must provide a price list of its 25 most common procedures. You can find these chargemasters on the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development website.
  • Some non-profit clinics and health centers charge on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay.
  • Ask the provider if you can get a discount by paying with cash or with a credit card.
  • Ask the provider if you can make payments. Many providers will work out a payment plan if you can't afford to pay all at once.

Learn more about paying for care and about what to do if you get a bill at

Health Plan Problems?

Call 1-888-466-2219

Find other resources...