How to Buy Discounted Health Insurance in California

It happened. The clock struck 12. Suddenly, I was no longer eligible for health insurance under my parents’ plan. By California law, residents can only stay on parents’ health insurance plans until age 26. After that, you’re on your own.

Reluctantly, I searched for ways to buy my own health insurance. I’m young and healthy, so I only need a basic plan. I wanted to shop for cheap plans and easily compare them. 

Turns out, there’s a quick and easy way to apply for health insurance in the Golden State. It took me less than 30 minutes to apply (comparing health plans took a bit longer). Here’s how to buy discounted health insurance in California from the comfort of your home.

Buy health insurance on Covered California

California residents can purchase brand-name health insurance on Covered California, a free online marketplace that connects Californians with health plans. It’s a great resource.


  • Filter: Filter by price, company, and type.
  • Compare: Easily compare plans side-by-side.
  • All-in-one: Submit one application to earn discounts.

It’s a super convenient way to purchase insurance. You could qualify for discounted insurance based on your income and a few other factors. You could save hundreds of dollars monthly, especially if you’re low-income. To estimate aid, try the Covered California calculator.

How to earn discounts

To earn discounts, create an account and submit a single application. To do so, you must fill out basic personal information, including estimated household income, number of dependents, and ethnicity. It took me about 15 minutes to complete the straightforward application.

Soon after you send your application, you’ll know whether you qualify for discounted plans. Covered California will message you on the website (I received notice within hours). It’ll tell you whether you can shop around on the website, and if so, how much of a discount you’ll get.

Covered California will also tell you whether you qualify for Medi-Cal. Individuals who earn less than $1,677.00 monthly may be eligible for Medi-Cal, a.k.a. low-cost or free healthcare.

Is Covered California the most affordable?

Covered California may be the most affordable option if you qualify for financial assistance. You can apply for discounts fast and free, so it’s worth a shot. But if you don’t qualify, check if your favorite health insurance company sells cheaper plans. It might.

Full disclosure: I can purchase plans via the Covered California marketplace, but I barely qualify for any financial aid. Even so, the site is so convenient that I bought a health insurance plan through it. It saved me time; comparing plans was easy, and I found a good one.

If you’re new to purchasing health insurance, I recommend checking out Covered California. It makes it easy to compare plans. At the very least, you’ll get a feel for what’s important.

Buy discounted car insurance, too

Speaking of savings, once you’ve tackled health insurance, why not look into bundling other types of insurance for even more discounts?

If you’re a driver, you’re probably on the hook for car insurance. To earn discounts on car insurance, I bundle my policy with my brother. Bundling with other drivers is a great way to shrink premiums. It lowered my monthly payments by 5% to 10%.

Bundle plans to keep those big monthly payments low. You can hop right into it with the best cheap car insurance companies. Or, you can stick with discounted health insurance. Totally up to you — you know your situation better than anyone.

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