Domestic Health Insurance

Having health insurance is important, but getting it isn’t always easy.

The following is an overview of four health insurance options for domestic students.


1.   Parent’s Insurance

  • Most students can remain on their parent’s plan until the age of 26.
  • Even after a student turns 18, gets a job, moves out or gets married, they can remain on the parents’ plan up to age 26 (in most cases).
  • The cost to add a student to a parent’s plan is usually cheaper than a student getting a plan of their own.
  • If students attend school out of state or far away from home, it may be difficult to obtain in-network medical care. This means students may only be able to see a doctor for routine medical care when they are home during breaks.
    • TIP:  If attending school out of state or in a different county, check with your health insurance for their network services available in SF county.
    • Kaiser SoCal members – call Kaiser Member Services number on the back of your Kaiser card and ask how to obtain a Northern California Kaiser ID number to use here in SF.  You will not be denied medical services at Kaiser, but call and get your ID # now.


2.   Through Work

  • Most jobs include health insurance coverage.  Check with your employer!
  • Check with your employer about the type and details of their health insurance plan.
  • Getting health insurance through work can provide the best coverage for the lowest price. Even when workers can obtain insurance coverage from other sources for a comparable price, the benefits are usually less.
  • Most employers allow employees to choose their coverage, such as dental, vision or adding a dependent. But even with the cheapest options, working students might be better off getting coverage through a parent or spouse instead.


3.   Medi-Cal

  • Many students now qualify for free medical insurance through Medi-Cal.
  • Your income must be under $16,104/year.
  • You can apply for Medi-Cal year round. The entire process can take several months, so start now!!
  • How to apply:
    • Online at
    • In person at several SFcounty offices and medical clinics (see chart below)
  • For more details about Medi-Cal, click here


4.   Affordable Care Act (ACA) / Healthcare Marketplace

  • Almost anyone will qualify for coverage through the ACA Marketplace.
  • Sign up usually takes place during an open enrollment period. If a student misses this opportunity, they can sign up during a special enrollment period if they recently lost their health insurance coverage.
  • Every plan offered through the Marketplace will provide minimum essential coverage.
  • Buying health insurance through the ACA marketplace may qualify students for federal subsidies (tax credits) to help pay the monthly charges.
  • To qualify for tax credits requires completion of paperwork to prove monthly income and other proof of a student’s current financial situation.
  • If a student qualifies, then they choose the level of health insurance they want (Bronze (least expensive), Silver, Gold, and Platinum (most expensive)).

Click PDF file for Health Insurance Definitions

Locations for Help with Health Insurance Enrollment
Organization Address Phone
California Black Chamber Foundation 1006 Webster Street, San Francisco, 94112 (415) 586-3686
Chinese Community Health Plan Multiple locations (877) 224-7808
Health Benefits Resource Center 2015 Forest Ave, San Jose, 95128 (408) 991-5860
Health Ways, Inc. 901 Campus Drive, Suite 209, Daly City, 94015 (650) 746-3316
Maxine Hall Health Center 1301 Pierce Street, San Francisco, 94115 (415) 292-1300
Mission Neighborhood Health Clinic 240 Shotwell Street, San Francisco, 94110 (415) 692-1515
North East Medical Services Multiple locations (415) 391-9686 ext. 8130
San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center Multiple locations  
San Mateo County Health System Multiple locations  
Seton Medical Center 1900 Sullivan Avenue, Daly City, 94015 (650) 991-5860
South of Market Health Center 229 7th Street, San Francisco, 94103 (415) 503-6077

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

470 Castro St, San Francisco, 94114 (415) 437-3446

Women's Community Clinic

1833 Filmore Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco 94115

(415) 379-7800

Back to top