Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

In Del Norte County, about 7,700 adults and children currently receive Medi-Cal benefits, California's subsidized health program for low-income families and individuals.

Under the Affordable Care Act, an additional 2,000 Del Norters will be eligible for Medi-Cal health insurance coverage.

And another 3,000 county residents will be able shop for health insurance through a state exchange called Covered California (

The Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services is offering to help county residents navigate the application process for Medi-Cal benefits or coverage through Covered California. The department is planning to hire three or four employees (funded by the federal government) specifically to help individuals apply for coverage.

"Our department has been working tirelessly on preparing for this health coverage expansion," Director Gary Blatnick wrote in a Coastal Voices piece in Saturday's Triplicate. "We understand we will be the place many residents turn to for help to enroll starting (today) for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2014.

The department is located at 880 Northcrest Drive in Crescent City, 707-464-3191. Go to for Medi-Cal and other program applications and for the state insurance exchange.

There are no changes to Medicare benefits as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Reach Adam Spencer at