College Students Who Move to a New County or Out of California

You can get emergency care and urgent care anywhere in the United States, including the U.S. Territories. Routine and preventive care are covered only in your county of residence.

If you are a student who moves to a new county in California to attend higher education, including college, L.A. Care will cover emergency room and urgent care services in your new county. You can also get routine or preventive care in your new county, but you must notify your MCP. 

If you are enrolled in Medi-Cal and are a student in a different county from the California county where you live, you do not need to apply for Medi-Cal in that county.

If you temporarily move away from home to be a student in another county in California, you have two choices.

You can:

  • Tell your eligibility worker at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) or call them at 1-866-613-3777 that you are temporarily moving to attend a school for higher education and give them your address in the new county. The county will update the case records with your new address and county code.
    You must do this if you want to keep getting routine or preventive care while you live in a new county. If L.A. Care does not serve the county where you will attend college, you might have to change health plans. For questions and to prevent delay joining the new health plan, contact Health Care Options or call them at 1-800-430-4263 (TTY: 1-800-430-7077  711).


  • If L.A. Care does not serve the new county where you attend college, and you do not change your health plan to one that serves that county, you will only get emergency room and urgent care services for some conditions in the new county.
    To learn more, go to the “How to get care” section of this online handbook. For routine or preventive health care, you would need to use the L.A. Care network of providers located in the head of the household’s county of residence.

If you are leaving California temporarily to be a student in another state and you want to keep your Medi-Cal coverage, contact your eligibility worker at the DPSS.
As long as you qualify, Medi-Cal will cover emergency services and urgent care in another state. If L.A. Care approves the service and the doctor and hospital meet Medi-Cal rules, Medi-Cal will also cover emergency care that requires hospitalization in Canada and Mexico.

Routine and preventive care services, including prescription drugs, are not covered when you are outside of California. You will not qualify for Medi-Cal. L.A. Care will not pay for your health care. If you want Medicaid in another state, you will need to apply in that state. Medi-Cal does not cover emergency, urgent, or any other health care services outside of the United States, except for Canada and Mexico as noted in the “How to get care” section of this online handbook.