Comprehensive Coverage for Children in California—Regardless of Immigration Status—Begins Today

Today is great day for kids in California. All children in California now—regardless of their immigration status—have access to free or low cost, comprehensive, health coverage if their family income is at or below 266 percent of the federal poverty level (about $53,625 for a family of three).

According to the Berkeley Labor Center, up to 170,000 children under age 19—previously ineligible for Medi-Cal based on their immigration status—will gain coverage. And, this new policy is likely to create a welcome mat for brothers and sisters of the 170,000 children who were already eligible for Medi-Cal but remained unenrolled. According to a new Urban Institute study, 92 percent of children eligible for Medi-Cal in California were enrolled in 2014, but there are still 8 percent more to go.

 There are a few key points California’s parents need to know:

  1. It’s safe to apply for Medi-Cal regardless of their own immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security has provided guidance on this in English and Spanish. And, parents not applying for coverage for themselves, but for their children, do not have to provide information about their own immigration status or social security number.
  1. They can apply in many different ways. Parents can visit their local health clinics, apply online on CoveredCalifornia, or go to county offices. A group of more than 20 national and state organizations have put together a helpful website with many resources and FAQs available in English and Spanish for families looking to enroll.
  1. Access to health care is important for their child’s overall development and well-being. Research shows that Medicaid coverage during childhood leads to greater academic and greater economic success and health as adults.

At CCF, we’re looking forward to sharing more good news as children sign up and get covered.