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California health insurance  -  Individual health coverage  -  Payment Options

Payment Options for Individual California health insurance

The different ways we can pay for health insurance coverage in California has changed as of late and it's important to know our options since the #1 reason for health insurance plans to be cancelled is due to non-payment.


We have updated this page for ACA (Affordable Care Act) changes that have changed the payment options.  The first section (above the line) deals with new Covered Ca processing.


Initial Payment for Covered California

We can now take the first payment by phone to "activate" the policy anytime after you receive the confirmation email which generally is sent within 24 hours of enrolling from us.  Call us at 800-320-6269 and we can process the first payment for policies we enroll over the phone by credit card or bank account info. 


This greatly speeds the processing since the first invoice will generally arrive about two weeks after enrollment from the carrier.


Only the first payment is made in this manner.  For following payments, we recommend setting up your online account directly with the carrier where you can choose your payment type of choice. 





For a while, there was a trend towards more flexibility in how we could pay an individual family health policy but that has backtracked as of late. Let's take a look at the different payment options available in California. We'll break it up into two main categories: The initial premium payment that goes along with the application and the recurring payment to keep the policy in force. Let's start with the initial payment where we still have some flexibility.

Payment Selection for Paper Applications

Way back when, we could only pay the first premium by check and in fact, it had to be submitted up front with the application. We remember the days of paper-clipping a check right to the hard copy of the application and mailing it all in overnight to underwriting. The carriers eventually entered the modern era and started to allow the first payment by either credit card or auto-deduction from a checking account. The credit card and auto-deductions are still available for the 1st month's premium which is very helpful with the online application process (accounts for 90% of all submitted applications). On the payment page, you'll have the ability to enter this information in and the online application is all transmitted over a secured server provided directly by the carrier itself. If you wish to pay with a check, we still can the carrier will not finalize the health application until the check is received in-house. This can slow things down considerably. The initial payment by credit card or auto-deduction is the fastest approach. The carriers will not hit the credit card or auto-deduction for credit card until the application is approved (assuming it's approved). The actual hit actually processes a few days following the approval. This initial payment is for the 1st month's premium and there is no application fee or fee for our service. In California, if you do not want the policy for any reason at all, we just need to notify the carrier within 10 days following the receipt of their approval by letter that we wish to cancel the policy never effective. They will refund the initial month's payment in full typically by the same means that it was received (ie. by credit card). That's the initial month's premium which is required up front with the application as the applicant's part of the contract.

Credit Card Payment Option has Been Disappearing

It used to be that we could pay the ongoing premiums with the same three means mentioned for the initial month's premium (check, credit card, or auto-deduction from a checking account). This is where things changed primarily as the California health insurance carriers had to find ways to reduce overhead in light of Health Reforms MLR requirements. One of the first things to go was the credit card ongoing payment for standard health plans. We might still see it with short term plans but the major carriers started to pull it due to the cost associated with credit card transactions. This was disappointing since many members enjoyed the convenience and various rewards associated with using a credit card for payment. It was also very convenient in that payment was somewhat automated (as with auto-deduction) and we definitely want this with health insurance where the policies are guaranteed renewable unless (you guessed it) payment is not received. Most California health insurance plans have a 30 day payment grace period and potentially a 2 month re-instatement period but it's best to avoid both of these.

To recap, we can use credit card, auto-deduction, and check for the 1st month's premium and check (also called billing) or auto-deduction for the re-occurring bills. You can always change your method of payment later on at any time.

You can run your California Health Plan including Covered Ca Quote here to view rates and plans side by side from the major carriers...Free.

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