Relocating to a New Home with Medi-Cal

Attention CA students who want to avoid medical fees and Medi-Cal recipients who are relocating:

Did you know it takes a month to switch case counties
(aka “Intercounty Transfers”)?

I didn’t. If you rely on medication, this may be something you want to prepare for. It’s also good to know if you need a waiver for healthcare at your university.

You’ll want to have coverage at a facility under 30 miles away if you don’t want to pay at least $1,500.00 for a SHIP.


Ocean Cruisin’

Not the nautical kind; I mean the (less exciting) Student Health Insurance Plan.

In the next paragraph, you’ll read how to get coverage statewide in CA without waiting a month—but if you need coverage in a specific county, say, for a SHIP waiver, skip to The Longcut below.

(NOTE: This article is most useful for folks in CA, but I’m interested to know how things work elsewhere. I hope people from other states find it useful too!)

The Shortcut:

Ask Health Care Options to Remove your County from your Case

Medi-Cal Managed Care logo

Medi-Cal Managed Care logo

The quickest method for ensuring Medi-Cal recipients can see a doctor is removing your case from all counties by calling Health Care Options at 800.430.4263. Have your social security number handy.

This way, you’ll have Medi-Cal coverage statewide—counties be damned! *shakes fist*

If you’ll need to see a doctor as soon as you move, make sure your Health Care Options representative enrolls you in a specific health plan/network over the phone when you call so you can actually choose an “in-network” doctor wherever you’ll be.


The logos for two CA health care services agencies, departments within the California Health and Human Services Agency |

This doesn’t seem like the most effective way to get Medi-Cal coverage if you need it to waive university insurance though—universities often require that you have coverage within 30 miles of the campus.

So, how do you prove you have local coverage if you completely disassociate counties from your case? If you need to associate your coverage to a specific county, it’ll take a bit longer to get what you need done.

You’ll have to wait that month to switch!

The Longcut:

Ask your old county’s agency to disenroll you

I’d imagine one could simply call their Medi-Cal case worker (Medicaid if you’re in another state), but this isn’t what I did. I called Health Care Options here in CA, and they knew everything I needed to do to switch my case to my new county.

Follow these 3 steps:

  1. Call your former county’s health services agency
  2. Tell them you have Medi-Cal and need to switch your case to your current county.
  3. Call Health Care Options (if in CA) to ensure you have
    1. enrolled in your new county’s health agency, and
    2. chosen a network based in your new county

Health Care Options (or any state agency facilitating the enrollment of Medicaid patients) should let you know if anything fell through the cracks—which happened in my case.


Disenrollment Letter

The two screenshots framing this sentence depict snail mail that the CA DHCS sends to notify recipients of changes in case county: one letter for disenrollment and the other for enrollment.


Enrollment Letter

When you receive these in the mail, you know your Medi-Cal case is actually being switched to your new county.

I had a hard time because my social security number had a typo in my original county’s system—yes, it can happen. They kept telling me I wasn’t Taylor Devarie whenever I gave them my true SSN. Only one digit off too >< Glad that ordeal is over!

RECAP – Three Takeaways

  1. If you need coverage immediately, Californians can remove/dissassociate the county from their case by calling Health Care Options (HCO) at 800.430.4263
  2. If you need your case county changed, call your original county health services agency and then verify the change with your state’s enrollment agency (HCO in CA)
  3. Make sure you ask the representative to enroll you in a health & dental plan/network over the phone if they don’t bring it up. They should direct you to someone equipped to assist you.

More Useful CA Health Services Contact Info

Applying for Medi-Cal Services

    1. Medi-Cal/General Info: (medical applications found here)
    2. Denti-Cal: 800.322.6384 (TTY 800.735.2922) |
    3. CalFresh: 844.212.0003 |

Enrolling in Medi-Cal Managed Care

Issues and Claims

      • CA State Ombudsman: 888.452.8609 |

You can find these numbers and more (like how to appeal a claims denial) at


Find anything wrong above? Have anything to add? Let me know in the comments!

Wishing you the best of health!


UPDATE 9/30/18: I tried to enroll in low-cost CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and was informed my case hadn’t switched over yet—and that you can’t just disassociate case from county for county CBT svcs specifically -.- I wonder why that is? Anywho, I got a call from my case worker in August with instructions on switching my case – hopefully things stuck and I’ll have a good update in October!

UPDATE 10/24/18: My case still hasn’t switched over. Though, a nice CBT professional has been going out of her way to help me navigate this Medi-Cal system (she has made it clear I’m not the only one confused by it). She left a message saying my case had a switch date in the system assigned to it now—November 1st. So I’ll have good news November 1st!

UPDATE 11/7/18: It’s my Red Letter Day! My case changed counties officially (and I received a letter in the mail stating it too). I was referred to a place offering CBT and EFT, as well as therapy I’ve never researched! Very excited, and ready to reap the benefits of local low-cost care!

DISCLAIMER: The material published on this website is intended for general information only and is not legal advice or other professional advice. To the extent permitted by law, I exclude any liability, including any liability for negligence, for any loss or damage arising from reliance on material on this website.