health insurance


We can advise Support Circle patients on their basic health insurance questions

  • You do NOT need insurance to obtain services from Support Circle.
  • Our services are free to all.
  • All of our staff can answer initial basic questions about health insurance.

If you do not have medical insurance, your three basic options are:

Medi-Cal – Available to women who are below 400% of the federal poverty level. Medi-Cal coverage provides comprehensive health services at no cost or at low cost.

MCAP – Medi-Cal Access Program is California’s insurance program for mid-income pregnant women (formerly known as AIM: Access for Women and Infants). Available for women whose income is determined to be above 400% of the federal poverty level. Women are reimbursed for prenatal care, labor and delivery and well baby care up to 30 days after delivery.

Covered California – Women that do not qualify for Medi-Cal or MCAP may be able to enroll in the State of California’s official healthcare marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses. The open enrollment period for coverage beginning in the fall. You must have a qualifying life event to enroll in coverage outside of the open enrollment period. Pregnancy is not considered a qualifying life event.

Why should I sign up for medical insurance?

It’s great to have health insurance – with the new health care law, there are many new benefits specifically for women. Besides covering most or all of the cost for preventive care, emergency care, and other health services, under the health care law, following are some of the services all private insurance plans must cover for women for FREE, without co-pays:

  • STD and HIV screening and counseling
  • Domestic violence screenings
  • Breast cancer screenings
  • Pelvic and cervical cancer screenings (such as a pap smear)
  • Gestational diabetes screening and breast feeding support

Other changes are:

  • Women can now visit their OB/GYN without having to first see a primary care doctor to get a referral
  • Health insurance companies can no longer charge women more than men for insurance coverage
  • Health insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition (like asthma or diabetes)
  • Being a domestic violence survivor can no longer be considered a pre-existing condition
  • Children can stay on their parent’s private health insurance plan until their 26th birthday.

What will happen if I don’t want insurance, or am ineligible?

Health insurance is mandatory under the new law. If you do not enroll in insurance you will be charged a penalty fee when you file taxes at the end of the year. These penalty fees will increase each year.

There are some people who qualify for exemption, including undocumented immigrants, those with religious objections, those whose family income is below the threshold for filing taxes, and people who would have to pay more than 8% of their income to obtain health insurance.