Tips to help you choose a medical plan

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About Medi-Cal managed care medical plans

  • Medi-Cal wants you and your family to be healthy and satisfied with your health care.
  • Medi-Cal managed care medical plans have their own doctors, specialists, clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals.
  • You can choose the doctor or clinic for all your health care needs. Medi-Cal managed care medical plans offer special care such as checkups, routine tests for adults, and shots for children and babies that can help you stay healthy.
  • You can go to your primary care provider (PCP) first, unless it is an emergency or a family planning visit.
  • The medical plan has a member services department or an after-hours number that you can call.
  • Eligibility for CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, and Food Stamps
    Keeping or changing your medical plan does not change your eligibility for other programs.
  • Benefits Identification Card (BIC)
    The plastic card sent to everyone who qualifies for Medi-Cal. All Medi-Cal providers use the BIC to check eligibility. Also called the Medi-Cal card.
  • Direct access to women's health services
    A woman can go directly to any network provider for women's health care without a referral from another doctor.
  • Medical second opinions
    You can request that another doctor or specialist see you before you make decisions about your doctor's plan for your care or surgery.
  • You do not have to ask managed care doctors if they take Medi-Cal patients.

How to choose a medical plan

Things to think about before you make your choice:


  • Am I happy with the doctor I have right now?
  • Does my doctor belong to a medical plan?
  • Which medical plans is my doctor in?
  • Do I have to wait long to get an appointment?
  • Are they open when I can go?
  • Does the doctor have experience with my child's or my medical problem?


  • Does the doctor speak my language or provide interpreters who do?


  • Is the doctor’s office or clinic nearby?
  • Is it easy to get to?
  • Does the medical plan or doctor provide transportation?

How to join a medical plan

  • You must qualify for Medi-Cal to join a medical plan.
  • To join a medical plan, call Health Care Options at 1-800-430-4263Or you can complete a Medi-Cal Choice Form. You can find the form on the Download forms page.
  • You can use your Medi-Cal Benefits Identification Card (BIC) for services through Regular (Fee-for-Service) Medi-Cal until you are a medical plan member.
  • Health Care Options will send you a letter telling you that your medical plan has changed.
  • Your medical plan will send you information about its services and a medical plan member card.
  • Take your medical plan member card and BIC card with you when you get all medical services, including pharmacy, x-rays and office visits.

How to change your medical plan

  • If you are not happy with your medical plan, you can choose another medical plan, if available.
  • To change your medical plan, call Health Care Options at 1-800-430-4263 (TTY 1-800-430-7077). Or you can complete a Medi-Cal Choice Form. You can find the form on the Download forms page.
  • Mail the completed choice form.
  • Health Care Options will send you a letter. It will tell you that your plan has changed.
  • You must see your present doctor until you get the letter from Health Care Options.

Working with your medical plan

  • Know how to use your medical plan as soon as you become a member.
  • Read all the information your medical plan sends to you.
  • Call your medical plan's member services department and ask any questions you have about your medical plan. Member services staff will be glad to help you.