An Advocate’s Guide to Medi-Cal Services

Executive Summary

California’s Medi-Cal program provides free or low-cost health care coverage to more than 14 million low-income adults, families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, children in foster care, and former foster youth up to age 26. Medi-Cal, like other Medicaid programs, covers a wide range of health services which, taken together, are intended to provide a comprehensive package of health care services from infancy to end of life. To learn more about what services are covered and for an explanation of many of the important benefits available through Medi-Cal, please review our 2020 publication. An addendum, Accessing Medi-Cal Services During COVID-19 Pandemic, has been added to this guide (September 2020).

The entire guide can be downloaded or individual chapters accessed below.

Chapter I: Overview of Medicaid and Medi-Cal
Chapter II: Prescription Drugs
Chapter III: Mental Health Services
Chapter IV: Substance Use Disorder Services
Chapter V: Gender-Affirming Services
Chapter VI: Reproductive and Sexual Health Services
Chapter VII: Dental Services
Chapter VIII: Children’s Health Services
Chapter IX: Long-Term Services and Supports
Chapter X: Durable Medical Equipment, Orthotics and Prosthetics, and Other Non-Pharmaceutical Items
Chapter XI: Ancillary Services
Appendix A: Commonly Referenced Laws and Commonly Used Terms
Appendix B: Medi-Cal Resource List 
Addendum: Accessing Medi-Cal Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

Through policy advocacy and litigation, the National Health Law Program protects and advances access to Medi-Cal coverage and services, and the rights of individuals eligible for the program. We have extensive expertise in federal and state Medi-Cal laws, regulations, and policies and share the expertise through training and assistance to California health advocates, legal services programs, private attorneys, and other stakeholders.


The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) is launching a five-part webinar series that will include content from An Advocate’s Guide to Medi-Cal Services. In addition, the webinar training will cover COVID-19 related updates and potential impacts from the budget deficit.
Please use the links to register. All webinars will take place from 2-3PM PST.
NHeLP is a State Bar of California approved CLE provider. This event has been approved for 1 hour of California MCLE credit. Please contact Jessica ([email protected]) if you have any accommodation requests for the webinar.

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