Care 1st – How to enroll in Medi-Cal

Care First - Blue Shield - Medi-Cal
Care First – Blue Shield – Medi-Cal

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Before a beneficiary can enroll with Care1st, they must first enroll in the Medi-Cal program by following the steps below:

STEP 1 – Applying for Benefits

Individuals seeking to enroll in the Medi-Cal program must first visit the nearest Department of Social Services (DPSS) / County Welfare Department and apply for benefits. If eligibility is established, the beneficiary is advised to attend an on-site information session administered by Health Care Options – a California Department of Health Services private contractor – to learn about available health care choices. 

STEP 2 – Getting Assistance, if needed

Health Care Options is responsible for educating Medi-Cal recipients about their benefits and how to enroll in a health plan. Beneficiaries needing further assistance or who have questions can contact Health Care Options at 1 (800) 430-4263 (or TDD for the hearing impaired: 1 (800) 430-7077). Beneficiaries may also contact Care1st Health Plan 1-800-605-2556 or their doctor’s office and receive assistance with completing the enrollment form.

STEP 3 – Receiving the packet

Upon receiving beneficiary eligibility information from DPSS, Health Care Options mails each recipient an enrollment packet. The packet contains enrollment materials as well as explains that the beneficiary must choose a health plan, what health plans are available, and that if the enrollment form is not completed and received at Health Care Options in 30 days a health plan will be chosen for them. When Health Care Options chooses a health plan for the beneficiary, it is called default or “automatic assignment.” 

Beneficiaries are primarily defaulted because they do not receive the enrollment packet, they do not understand the information because it was sent in English and they speak another language, or they submitted an incomplete enrollment form. Some are defaulted due to administrative and processing errors. Beneficiaries that are defaulted are not prevented from later choosing a health plan of their choice.

Contact Information By County


Care1st Health Plan
601 Potrero Grande Drive
Monterey Park, CA 91755

(323) 889-6638

Main Fax
(323) 889-6255


Care1st Health Plan
3131 Camino del Rio North
Suite 1300
San Diego, CA 92108

(619) 528-4800

Main Fax
(619) 528-4820

(All Claims go to Monterey Park)

Care1st Health Plan
Informational Resource Center

5946 Pacific Blvd.
Huntington Park, CA 90255
Map and Directions

(323) 586-1610

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