By Bob Freeman

CEO, CenCal Health

In addition to the thousands of people losing their jobs due to COVID-19, many are also losing their health insurance. 

This is an important message for anyone who has lost their health insurance:

There is no-cost health coverage you may be eligible for: Medi-Cal.

CenCal Health administers the Medi-Cal program in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Like unemployment, Social Security and disability insurance, Medi-Cal is one of America’s vital safety-net programs that is here for you.

Medi-Cal is a public program for adults and children who meet eligibility requirements.

The program provides comprehensive coverage for medical, dental and vision care and services, including check-ups, immunizations, mental health, prescription drugs, testing and treatment for COVID-19 (the coronavirus), hospitalization and much more.

Currently, one in four residents of Santa Barbara County and one in five residents in San Luis Obispo County receive their health and vision benefits through CenCal Health, the health plan that provides medical and vision coverage for Medi-Cal beneficiaries in these counties. 

CenCal Health contracts with over 1,500 local physicians, 104 pharmacies, and all hospitals in both counties.

It is likely that you would be able to keep your current physician under CenCal Health.

CenCal Health is a public entity, and thus, not for profit.

There are several ways to apply to Medi-Cal:

The county departments of Social Services make all eligibility and enrollment decisions.

For more information on how to apply for Medi-Cal, including phone numbers for local Department of Social Services offices, visit our website at

One day, things will return to normal and everyone can go back to living their lives as before. However, until then, we are here for those who may need us and some peace of mind.