California has multiple programs in place to assist low- and middle-income pregnant women. These programs emphasize prenatal care. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program and provides assistance to pregnant women based on financial need. The income guidelines to qualify for Medi-Cal due to pregnancy are higher than those for qualifying for Medi-Cal for other reasons, such as disability or age.
Presumptive Eligibility is a program for women who meet income guidelines and who think they may be pregnant. The program allows women to receive temporary coverage for prenatal care from participating providers. The care is limited to prenatal services. You can find a participating provider by contacting your county's health department. When you go to the department, you receive a form to fill out to determine eligibility. If you're found to be pregnant, you receive a temporary Medi-Cal card and you're required to formally apply for Medi-Cal at your local social services office. To determine if you're eligible, contact your county's health department or social services department. You can also call 800-824-0088 for information.
Medi-Cal provides pregnancy and postpartum health services to women with household incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Your income is measured after you deduct child care and work-related expenses. As of 2011, a household of two must have an income of $2,429 or less per month and a household of four must have $3,675 or less. A pregnant woman counts as two people for Medi-Cal eligibility. To apply, contact your local social services department.
Access for Infants and Mothers provides low-cost health insurance to middle-income pregnant women. To qualify, you have to be less than 30 weeks pregnant, a California resident and not enrolled in any other medical assistance programs or health insurance. You also have to meet income guidelines. For example, as of 2011, a two-person household with an income of $2,453 to $3,679 or a four-person household with an income of $3,726 to $5,589 would meet the gross income guidelines. Pregnant women count as two persons.
CalFresh was formerly known as the food stamp program and provides a monthly benefit that can be used exclusively for food. Eligibility is based on having an income of 130 percent or less of the federal poverty level. Not all of your income counts; 20 percent of your work income is deducted and there is a standard deduction based on the number of members in your household. You also must have $2,000 or less in assets such as cash or bonds. Each county has its own application for CalFresh; contact your county's social services department to apply. Even though CalFresh isn't a pregnancy-specific program, the assistance can help you have a healthy pregnancy.
- CA.gov: Department of Health Care Services: Information for Women Interested in Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women
- CA.gov: Department of Health Care Services: Medi-Cal Frequently Asked Questions
- Guide to Free and Low-cost Health Programs and Services: Pregnant Only Medi-Cal Services
- CA.gov: Access for Infants & Mothers: Who Can Qualify?
- CA.gov: Access for Infants & Mothers: Income Guidelines
- CA.gov: Department of Social Services: How to Apply for CalFresh Benefits, Formerly Known as Food Stamps
- CA.gov: Department of Social Services: Eligibility and Issuance Requirements