Health Coverage Through Government Programs

The information provided here is for domestic students only. International students are automatically enrolled in the international student health plan. For more information, visit our Healthcare for International Students web page or email

The Affordable Care Act

Starting in 2020, California residents must either:

  • Have qualifying health insurance coverage, or
  • Pay a penalty when filing a state tax return, or
  • Get an exemption from the requirement to have coverage.

The penalty for not having coverage the entire year will be at least $750 per adult and $375 per dependent child under 18 in the household when you file your 2020 state income tax return in 2021. A family of four that goes uninsured for the whole year would face a penalty of at least $2,250.

Although the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act exempts those with income below the state tax filing threshold from paying the penalty for not having qualifying health insurance, you are strongly encouraged by Mills College to carry health insurance as long as you are a student here

Government subsidies for premium assistance are available for those in households earning between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Special enrollment options are available for those with qualifying events, including loss of other coverage outside the open enrollment periods. Those who qualify for Medicaid/Medi-Cal may also sign up at any time through Covered California or in Alameda County through the county's public benefits enrollment site.


Your household may qualify for the publicly funded health insurance coverage program for low-income families and individuals called Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) if your household income is at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty ;level. Those who qualify for Medi-Cal may sign up during open enrollment at Covered California or any time for Medi-Cal in Alameda County through the county's public benefits enrollment site. For more information about Medi-Cal benefits and enrollment see the Alameda County Healthcare web page.

Please be aware that obtaining public benefits such as Medi-Cal can take some time so you should begin the enrollment process as soon as you can.

Another way to sign up for Medi-Cal is through a community health center. Use this search tool and call the appointment line for a clinic near to you and indicate you would like to enroll in Medi-Cal, asking for an appointment with an eligibility worker. You can also contact the Alameda Alliance, a Medi-Cal managed care provider with a nearby clinic (Eastmont Wellness Center). You can do the same thing with a Planned Parenthood clinic if you have a reproductive healthcare need—they accept private insurance and Medi-Cal.

If you need further assistance with Medi-Cal enrollment please consider reaching out to a Certified Enroller to help you during this process.