Access to Health Care

Access to Health Care

How to Get Help

1-877-SD HEALTH (1-877-734-3258)
TTY 1-800-735-2929

The Consumer Center is located at our Midtown San Diego Office.  For faster service call 1-877-SD HEALTH (1-877-734-3258).
For walk-ins, we have 3 office locations:
Southeast San Diego Office
Midtown San Diego Office
North County San Diego Office

What We Do

Free* assistance to help people get coverage
The Consumer Center helps people get and maintain health care coverage for which they qualify.  We can help you:

  • Understand the health coverage programs for which you may qualify. This includes: Covered California, Medi-Cal, Medicare, Cal MediConnect, County Medical Services and others.
  • Access tax credits or subsidies to help pay for Covered California health care coverage.
  • Qualify for free Medi-Cal coverage.  This includes the new expanded Medi-Cal.
  • Appeal denials from a health coverage program.

Free* assistance to resolve problems with health plans
The Consumer Center helps people access needed health care services from both government health coverage programs and private insurance plans. We can help if you:

  • Have care, services, or medical equipment denied, or delayed.
  • Have problems getting medications.
  • Were told your services will be stopped or reduced.
  • Have medical debt even if you had health insurance coverage.
  • Have quality concerns with your health services or medical bills.
  • Need to appeal denials of services.

The Health Advocacy Project, based in downtown San Diego at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, educates and helps seniors age 60 and up with health care coverage, including Medi-Cal, Cal MediConnect, Medicare Savings Programs, and more. Visit us at 1525 4th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101, Monday-Friday. Walk-ins welcome! We also provide free computer access at the  Cyber Café seven days a week. For more information, call 619-235-6572, ext. 352, or 619-471-2685.

* for those who qualify for our services.

Important Health Care News

If you had health coverage in 2015 the 1095 form will help you complete your taxes. This form reports to the IRS important information about your health coverage and any premium tax credits you may have received during the prior year.  You should review this form closely for any mistakes and, if any start the process for correcting it as soon as possible. This article helps explain the process.

What Health Care Coverage Is Right for Me

If you do not know which program is right for you please call us, 1-877-SD HEALTH (1-877-734-3258). Your income, citizenship, age, residency, and disability status will help determine what program is right for you. Here is a brief summary of available health care coverage:
Covered California

  • Covered California helps Californians to buy private health insurance and provides subsidies to help cover the costs. People that have income between 138% and 400% of the federal poverty level will qualify and can get subsidies to help cover the cost. Use this chart to determine your eligibility. If you want to learn more please call us 1-877-SD HEALTH (1-877-734-3258) or see our helpful links.

Medi-Cal

  • Medi-Cal offers health coverage to low and middle income Californians. In the past Medi-Cal was generally limited to families with children and people with disabilities. But in recent years the program expanded to cover single and childless adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level.  Use this chart to see if you are eligible.  If you want to learn more please call us at 1-877-SD HEALTH (1-877-734-3258) or see our helpful links. 
  • If you need assistance with the Medi-Cal recertification process or have questions, we may be able to help - check here.

Medicare

  • Medicare provides health care to people over 65 and some people with disabilities. Medicare covers hospital services, medical services and medications. You may qualify for free coverage if you are low income and have enough work history.   If you want to learn more please call us 1-877-SD HEALTH (1-877-734-3258) or see our helpful links.

Cal MediConnect

  • Cal MediConnect is a program for people dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal. Please call us if you need assistance. We are the Statewide Ombudsman for this program and our advocates know how to help. If you want to learn more, please call us 1-877-SD HEALTH (1-877-734-3258) or see our helpful links.

County Medical Services 

  • If you are uninsured and incur medical bills this county program can help cover the costs. Please contact us for more information.

Helpful Information

Covered California

Medi-Cal

Medicare

Cal MediConnect

  • The Cal MediConnect Website provides updates for Californians on new developments in Cal MediConnect under California’s Coordinated Care Initiative.

County Medical Services

Issues with Private Insurance Plans:
California Department of Insurance (DOI)

Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC)

Department of Social Services State Hearing Division (Runs Fair Hearings for Medi-Cal and Covered California )

Other Helpful Resources

  • 211  2-1-1 San Diego connects people with community, health and disaster services through a free, 24/7 stigma-free phone service and searchable online database. Using the power of technology and innovation, it connects people to the help they need.
  • San Diegans for Health Care Access  Convening the community, providing the voice, and serving as the navigator to achieve optimal health coverage and care for all San Diegans.
  • Disability Rights California  Has the stated mission to advocate, educate, investigate and litigate to advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities.
  • Health Consumer Alliance (HCA)  HCA is a partnership of programs operated by community-based legal services organizations which helps Californians obtain essential health care.
  • Aging and Independence Services IHSS  IHSS provides homemaker and personal care assistance to persons receiving Supplemental Security Income or who have a low income and need aid in the home to remain independent.
  • Western Center on Law and Poverty  Western Center advances and enforces the rights of low-income Californians to the basic necessities of life by working statewide for systemic change.
  • National Health Law Program  The National Health Law Program protects and advances the health rights of low income and underserved individuals. NHeLP advocates, educates and litigates at the federal and state level.
  • California Code of Regulations  A hyper linked and searchable electronic version of California regulation.
  • Social Security Administration  Official website of the Social Security Administration where one can apply for benefits, obtain rules and regulations, and estimate future benefits.
  • National Council for Aging Care's guide on Elder Abuse

Assistance for Related Problems

Other agencies may assist you with areas of law we do not handle: 
Disability Related Issues

Elder Law and Medicare Issues

Self Help Documents

Covered California Hearing request form to appeal an eligibility determination 
Covered California form to appeal a premium tax credit issue 
Current Federal Poverty Level Chart 
DHCS/DSS declaration forms (coming soon)

Our Publications

Health Advocacy Project Flyer
Our Other Publications 

Information and Training for our Communities

Our staff regularly participates in outreach events and provides trainings.  If you would like Consumer Center staff to come to your organization, client or family support group, or event, please use this form to submit a request.

Get Involved

General Volunteers - The Consumer Center values the important contribution that volunteers make to our organization and encourage those interested in volunteering to contact us using this form.

Law Clerk, Post-Bar and Attorney Volunteers – If you are interested in volunteer opportunities with the Consumer Center please use this form.