Girl having ear exam


Finding and Using Healthcare

Children need frequent checkups. They often need care for common illnesses and minor injuries. There are ways to get low-cost healthcare.
To get the best care for yourself and your family, ask your doctor questions and talk about your concerns. Look for a doctor you like, who takes your concerns seriously.

Where to Find Help

California Department of Insurance
Help filing an appeal with your health insurance company.

California Department of Managed Health Care
Information about and help with health insurance.

California Health+
Network of community health centers

Covered California (California’s Affordable Care Act Program)
Help with buying private health insurance or enrolling in Medi-Cal.

Family PACT
Referrals for family planning services.

Health insurance if your income is low.

More Resources

Things You Can Do

Know Your Rights

  • You have a right to choose your doctor, and to change doctors.

  • You have a right to get a second opinion about a serious condition or a major treatment.

  • You have a right to see your medical records and get copies of them.

  • If you have a disability, you have a right to get the tests and exams you need. For example, you may need to go to a clinic that has an accessible exam table and scales.

  • If you have a problem getting a treatment, or if your insurance will not pay for it, you can ask for a review of the decision. Contact the California Department of Insurance or California Department of Managed Health Care.

Free or Low-Cost Healthcare

Health insurance for your family may seem expensive. But it will probably save you money over time. Medi-Cal is health insurance for families and individuals with low incomes. It is very low cost. Covered California offers health insurance at reduced cost, if you do not qualify for Medi-Cal. You can apply for both programs on the Covered California website.

Community Clinics

Community health clinics offer low-cost healthcare. Services may include family planning, prenatal care, vaccines, dental care, mental healthcare, and testing and treatment for many diseases. Check with your county’s health or social services department to find a community clinic.

If English Is Not Your First Language

Ask for doctors or office staff who speak your language, or ask for a certified interpreter. Your children should not interpret for you, even if they speak English well.


Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you visit the doctor.

Get Care in an Emergency

If someone’s life is in danger, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. You cannot be turned away, even if you have no insurance or money, or you are undocumented.

If someone swallows, breathes in, or touches anything poisonous, or is bitten by a poisonous animal, call the Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Understand Your Treatment

When a doctor suggests a treatment for you or your child, make sure you understand what it does and why it’s important. Ask the doctor about risks and side effects. You can ask if there are other treatments, and what would happen if you didn’t have any treatment.

Usually you need to sign a consent form before treatment. This form says you agree to the treatment. Make sure you don’t have any more questions or worries before you sign the consent form.