Community Resources


Health Insurance

Medical Resources at Columbia College and in Our Area

Campus and community medical resources to help students understand insurance and what campus and community resources are available. 

Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare)

ObamaCare  is the more common name associate with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It is a U.S. law aimed at reforming the Americans with access to affordable health insurance, improving the quality of health care and health insurance, regulating health insurance industry, and reducing health care spending in the U.S. The overall purpose is to ensure everyone has affordable insurance available regarding your health history.

IMPORTANT for Transfer Students: It is highly recommended that undocumented students who have received DACA consider registering for Medi-Cal before attending their transfer institution in the fall or spring. Students already affiliated with Medi-Cal must contact their case manager to request address change to Merced County. For more information on how to apply to Medi-cal you can go to  Medi-cal website

Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace helps uninsured individuals find health coverage.

Ten things immigrant families need to know about the marketplace:

Affordable coverage options for immigrant families are available in the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you have recently moved to the United States and had a change in your immigration status, here are some things you should know:

  • In order to buy private health insurance through the marketplace, you must be a U.S. citizen or be lawfully present in the U.S.  List of immigration statuses that qualify for marketplace coverage.
  • If you recently gained U.S. citizenship or had a change in your immigration status, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.  Find out if you can enroll in a marketplace health plan outside open enrollment.
  • If you are a lawfully present immigrant, you can buy private health insurance in the marketplace. You may be eligible for  lower costs on monthly premiums  and  lower out-of-pocket costs     based on your income. If you make less than $11,490 ($23,550 for a family of four) and you are not eligible for Medicaid,  you may still qualify for lower costs on coverage.
  • If you are a “qualified non-citizen” and meet your state’s income eligibility rules, you are generally eligible for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage.  View a list of “qualified non-citizen” statuses.
  • In order to get Medicaid and CHIP coverage, you may have a five-year waiting period. This means you must wait five years after receiving “qualified” immigration status before being eligible for Medicaid and CHIP.  View a list of exceptions to the five-year waiting period and other important details.
  • Many immigrant families are of “mixed status,” with members having different immigration and citizenship statuses. Mixed status families can apply for a tax credit or lower out-of-pocket costs for private insurance for their dependent family members who are eligible for coverage in the marketplace or for Medicaid and CHIP coverage. Family members who are not applying for health coverage for themselves will not be asked if they have eligible immigration status.
  • Federal and state marketplaces, and state Medicaid and CHIP agencies can’t require you to provide information about the citizenship or immigration status of any family or household members who aren’t applying for coverage.
  • States cannot deny you benefits because a family or household member who is not applying has not provided his or her citizenship or immigration status.
  • Information that you provide to the marketplace will not be used for immigration enforcement purposes.
  • If you are not eligible for marketplace coverage or you cannot afford a health plan, you can  get low-cost health care at a nearby community health center . Community health centers provide primary health care services to all residents, including immigrant families, in the health center’s service area.

Los Promotores de Salud and Advisory Council

Promotores are volunteers who are trusted members of and/or have close understanding of the community served. This Peer-to-Peer program uses Spanish-speaking community members to reach out to Spanish-speaking community members to promote mental health and overall wellness, and to reduce barriers to accessing services, and to provide a comfortable cultural context for sharing important information about community resources.

Persons Residing Under Color of Law

Persons Residing Under Color of Law (PRUCOL)

PRUCOL is a pub­lic ben­e­fits eli­gi­bil­ity cat­e­gory that refers to indi­vid­u­als who are in the U.S. with the knowl­edge of immi­gra­tion ser­vices and are not likely to be deported. Before the adop­tion of the Per­sonal Respon­si­bil­ity and Work Oppor­tu­nity Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act (PRWORA) of 1996, peo­ple with PRUCOL sta­tus were eli­gible for Med­ic­aid, but PRWORA elim­i­nated their eli­gi­bil­ity with the excep­tion of emer­gency ser­vices.

Consideration for Deferred Action and Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and PRUCOL:

A student, who has received DACA status, is PRUCOL eligible. If they are eligible for DACA but have not applied, they are considered ineligible for PRUCOL unless they qualify as PRUCOL in some other way.

Students who are eligible but have not applied for DACA are not eligible for Medi-Cal. In general, they must have received DACA status to be eligible for full scope Medi-Cal.

AB 540 students are considered undocumented. The majority, but not all, may be eligible for DACA status which falls under PRUCOL. Other AB 540 students may have another type of immigration status that could be considered "lawfully present" under the federal rules or PRUCOL under Medi-Cal rules. For more information about PRUCOL, refer to the  Department of Health Care Services  

Because there is a fine for those that do not enroll in health insurance (CA residents), DACA individuals are exempt from the health coverage mandate. Therefore, they will not be fined if they fail to enroll in health insurance.

Food Resources

Ponderosa Pantry

The Ponderosa Pantry offers free food to Tuolumne County residents and   is located on the Columbia College campus at the Student Center in the Ponderosa building. 
A one-time application is required to determine financial eligibility. The food bank is open to students, staff, faculty, and other Tuolumne County residents. 
For more information, call (209) 588-5111, or visit the Student Center at the Ponderosa building.     
Visit the    Ponderosa Pantry web page for more information and to find out specific pantry pick-up dates where perishable food is distributed. 


Many immigrants can get CalFresh. To view all FAQs regarding CalFresh please  click here.

A household can get CalFresh if at least one person (including children):

  • Has citizenship
  • Has a green card (for any length of time)
  • Has refugee or asylum status
  • Has parolee status for at least one year (Ukrainian parolees may qualify before one year)
  • Has, or is applying for, a U-Visa or T-Visa
  • Is an applicant for VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) relief
  • Is a Cuban or Haitian entrant
  • Is an Afghan entering with special Immigrant VISA (SIV), (SQ/SI) Parole, or other forms of humanitarian parole
  • Is Hmong/Laotian or American Indian born in Canada

An individual does not qualify for CalFresh if:

  • They are here on a student, work, or tourist visa
  • They are here under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
  • They are here under TPS (Temporary Protected Status), unless they meet the other qualifying factors
  • They are undocumented


WIC is designed to provide nutritional assistance and support to vulnerable families in our communities – including immigrant families who are otherwise eligible, regardless of immigration status. 

The Women's, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) is a nutrition education program that helps pregnant women, women who just had a baby, and children up to age 5 eat well, be active, and stay healthy. Dads, grandparents, foster parents, or guardians who care for children up to age 5 are also encouraged to apply. WIC services include monthly food benefits, prenatal nutrition information, breastfeeding information and support, access to a dietitian, healthy eating tips, nutritious recipes, and more.   

Pregnant women, women who just had a baby, children up to age 5, and fathers, grandparents, foster parents or guardians of children under 5 years old qualify if they are income eligible or already receive Medi-Cal insurance, CalWORKS (cash aid) or CalFresh (SNAP) benefits.     

For Tuolumne County residents, to apply call (209) 533-7431 to set up an appointment. 
For Calaveras and Amador County residents, to apply call (209) 223-7685 to set up an appointment.     
For more information about WIC benefits, visit    the WIC county web page. 

Community Food Pantries

Please visit the Basic Needs website  for a full list of community food pantries. If possible, always call ahead to ensure that they are up and running. 

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