I live in San Francisco, CA and want to transition from full time work to full time school. I’ll be financially ready to do this come mid-year. I would prefer not to but I can wait until the end of the year if necessary.

First question:

Will I be able to enroll outside of the open enrollment period if the loss of income is voluntary?

Second question:

How do I review all the plans without speaking to an agent over the phone? How would I access and compare all summaries of benefits to determine their values to me? I have a couple of healthcare needs that may or may not require more coverage but it appears that any kind of adequate coverage will cost nearly $1k/ month according to the Covered California website.

Third question:

Could the care provided by my on-campus clinic suffice to avoid the tax penalty for lack of coverage?

Fourth question:

Would it be better to go with Medi-cal? I think that can be used in tandem but I may be wrong. I’ve always either had coverage provided by my job or qualified to enroll in my city’s low income coverage, which may or may not still exist.

Fifth question:

Can costs be negotiated? At time of enrollment?