Free or Low-Cost Programs
Paying for Sexual Health Care Services
In California you have the right to free or low-cost reproductive health care if you don’t have insurance, don’t want to use your parents’ insurance or can’t afford it on your own. Three California programs can help you pay for care. Eligibility is determined based on how much you earn. Some clinics have sliding fee scales: they charge a smaller fee to people who have less money. You can access many of these services regardless of your immigration status. You just need to qualify financially and show that you are a California resident.
1. Family PACT
Family PACT is a state program that pays for many sexual and reproductive health services like pregnancy tests, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and counseling. People often recognize the turquoise-green Family PACT card. It does not pay for abortions, prenatal care or maternity care. The services are confidential, and you can get them regardless of your age or immigration status. You can sign up for Family PACT at a participating clinic, hospital or doctor’s office.
Finding The Right Family PACT Provider
When making an appointment with a Family PACT clinic, be sure to ask whether they offer referrals and resources for pregnancy, abortion and adoption. Depending on your health care situation, you may need additional support to deal with an unplanned pregnancy and you will want to know all of your options. To find a participating health care provider, call 800-942-1054 or visit www.familypact.org.
Medi-Cal pays for pregnancy-related health care—including prenatal care, delivery, post-partum care and abortion—if your income is very low. You can apply for this program even if you are a minor or an undocumented immigrant. Medi-Cal services are confidential.
There are several types of Medi-Cal programs for sexual health services that you might qualify for:
- Presumptive Eligibility for pregnant women provides immediate, temporary Medi-Cal coverage for prenatal care, abortion services and prescription drugs for pregnancy to low-income, pregnant patients, pending a formal Medi-Cal application. You can apply for Presumptive Eligibility at a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office. To find a provider that can sign you up for Presumptive Eligibility, call 800-824-0088.
- Restricted Medi-Cal for Pregnancy (also known as ‘Emergency Medi-Cal’) pays for abortion, prenatal care, labor, delivery and postpartum services for women through 60 days after the pregnancy ends. You have to apply for Restricted Medi-Cal at a local county social service office.
- Minor Consent Services Medi-Cal pays for family planning services, including pregnancy tests, prenatal care, abortion, STI treatment, drug and alcohol treatment and mental health care. To qualify, you must be under 21 years old and still living with or financially dependent on parents or guardians. Medi-Cal counts only the money you earn, not your parents’ or guardians’ income. You have to apply for Minor Consent Services at a local county social service office.
Qualifying for these Services
Many Medi-Cal programs use the Federal Poverty Level to decide whether a person is eligible for certain programs. Eligibility is based on the size of your family and how much money you make. Your eligibility will be determined when you apply.
3. Access for Infants and Mothers
Also called the AIM Program, Access for Infants and Mothers pays for comprehensive health coverage for medically necessary services a pregnant woman has throughout her pregnancy and for 60 days after her pregnancy ends. The baby is covered for two years after birth. AIM beneficiaries are above the income level to qualify for Medi-Cal so they usually have a share of cost in the form of a small monthly premium. You can apply for Access for Infants and Mothers at a local county social service office or by mail. More information and an application are available online.
Apply for Programs
If you have questions about any of these programs or applying for services, you can also call the ACCESS Healthline at 800-376-4636. You may need to apply in person for some of these programs at a county social service office. To find the county social service office closest to you visit this website. If you apply in person you may need to bring a completed application, proof of California residency, or proof of income. Call the local office before you go to find out what information or documents you need to apply. Bring as much of the required paperwork as possible so that you can submit your application completely and quickly.