How to get health care for COVID-19

April 21, 2020

If you, your client, or someone in your family becomes ill with COVID-19 or develops symptoms you believe may be due to COVID-19, you need to seek medical care. But many of us have no or limited access to health coverage, or we don’t know how to use the coverage we have when it comes to COVID-19. Many public announcements say you should “call your doctor” if you have symptoms. But what do you do if you don’t have your own doctor?

To help during the pandemic, California is creating and expanding health coverage options for those of us who need it. Regardless of what, if any, health insurance you have, you should not have to pay for any screening or testing of COVID-19. There are now a variety of plans designed to ensure that everyone infected with COVID-19 receives affordable care. Below you will find explanations and how each plan impacts workers like us if we need to access COVID-19 care.

IMPORTANT: Many of these coverage options are only for COVID-19 care. If you would like to find out if you qualify for Medi-Cal visit https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/Pages/ApplyforMedi-Cal.aspx. If you would like to purchase coverage or find out if you are eligible for discounted health coverage through Covered California, the enrollment period has been extended through June 2020, visit https://www.coveredca.com/. If you already purchase health coverage through Covered California and have changed financial circumstances due to COVID-19, you may qualify for lowered premiums.

If you are uninsured, lost your health insurance due to unemployment, or if your insurer doesn’t cover COVID-19

  • You will be covered for COVID-19 testing and care. A new state program called COVID-19 Presumptive Eligibility Program (PE) is being created to make sure those of us with no insurance or insurance that doesn’t cover coronavirus can be tested and treated for COVID-19 at no cost.
  • The program will start on April 24.
  • The program will cover all medically necessary care such as office, clinic and emergency room visits related to COVID-19 at no cost.
  • Next steps if your believe you may have COVID-19: Contact a local health center to find a testing location: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/. Make sure to ask if they participate in the PE program.

If you are undocumented

  • The state has announced that all 1 million undocumented Californians currently enrolled in “restricted scope” Medi-Cal, will be covered for testing and emergency COVID-19 treatment.
  • People who are undocumented can use the PE program.
  • Next steps if you believe you may have COVID-19: Contact your regular health care provider to be evaluated for testing or treatment. If you don’t have a regular provider, visit https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/. Make sure to ask if they participate in the PE program.

If you have Medi-Cal

  • You will be covered for COVID-19 testing and care. Testing, screening and treatment of COVID-19 is free for you if you have Medi-Cal.
  • Next steps if you believe you may have COVID-19: Contact your regular health care provider to be evaluated for testing or treatment. If you don’t have a regular provider, visit https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

If you have Medicare (for people 65 and over)

  • You will be covered for COVID-19 testing and care. Testing, screening and treatment of COVID-19 is free for you if you have Medi-Cal.
  • Next steps if you believe you may have COVID-19: Contact your regular health care provider to be evaluated for testing or treatment. If you don’t have a regular provider, visit https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

If you have private or employer-sponsored health coverage like Kaiser or have purchased health coverage through Covered California

  • Your screening and testing for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost to you. California has eliminated cost-sharing expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, or coinsurance for all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19. This includes hospital and urgent care visits and office visits for screening or testing for COVID-19.
  • Treatment coverage will depend on your specific health plan.

Though every one of us deserves full health coverage ALL the time, that’s not the world we currently live in. But even if we are not all covered for all health issues, all Californians currently have the right to care and treatment for COVID-19. If you feel you have been exposed, use the above resources to get advice and help. Our health is the most important resource we have; make sure you are protecting yours.

More News

Good news for members with student debt

Earlier this year President Biden announced a program to cancel student loan debt… Read More

“I take care of my best friend”: Rene and Bobby Joe Carrasco’s successful fight for more hours

Rene and Bobby Joe Carrasco have been inseparable since they were kids. In… Read More

Historic Tax Benefit for Union Workers Championed by UDW Signed into Law

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Workers Tax Credit into law, a major… Read More