County Programs for the Medically Indigent in California

Blue Sky Consulting Group

California's counties have health services programs for uninsured adults who cannot afford care. This fact sheet gives an overview of the county programs, while attachments provide both summaries and an interactive spreadsheet.

October 2009

Under California law, the state's 58 counties are the "providers of last resort" for health services to low-income uninsured adults with no other source of care. Thirty-four counties — mostly rural and/or small — offer a standard set of benefits through the County Medical Services Program that is run by Anthem Blue Cross Life & Health Insurance Company on a contracted basis. The remaining 24 counties provide their own programs and make their own decisions about funding levels, eligibility requirements, and covered services. Several of these counties offer more than one program.

The documents below provide extensive information about the 69 indigent care programs. The data — gathered on behalf of the California HealthCare Foundation by the Blue Sky Consulting Group — update and expand on earlier documents published on this website in 2006.

  • The fact sheet provides an overview and a comparison matrix of selected program elements such as eligibility requirements and covered services.
  • The profiles document provides a summary of every California county's 2009 program, any of which can be selected from a bookmark list.
  • The data spreadsheet allows readers to compare details of up to five programs at a time. The spreadsheet also enables comparison of a county's 2006 program to its 2009 program.

The fact sheet, profiles document, and data spreadsheet are available under Document Downloads.