Health Access, Advocates Ramp Up Campaign to Educate Undocumented Families about Medi-Cal

Last week, Health Access California helped kick-off efforts to educate undocumented families about enrolling in Medi-Cal leading up to the May implementation date, working with The California Endowment, the California Immigrant Policy Center, the California Primary Care Association, and others.

This week, Senator Ricardo Lara, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, introduced legislation sponsored by Health Access, that would ensure that undocumented children who are currently covered by the Kaiser Permanente Child Health Program and who are eligible for Medi-Cal can maintain their Kaiser coverage to avoid interruptions in coverage and access to care.

Last year’s historic enactment of Health4All Kids (SB 4 Lara and AB 75 of 2015) allows all low-income California children regardless of immigration status to enroll in Medi-Cal. SB 997 will ensure that the 70,000 children who currently have coverage through the Kaiser Permanente Child Health Program (KPCHP) are easily enrolled and do not face disruptions as they are switched to Medi-Cal. As Health4All Kids is implemented, this bill will guarantee that these “Kaiser kids” can maintain their Kaiser coverage to avoid interruptions in coverage and access to care (learn more about this bill).

In May, California will become the fifth state in the nation to expand affordable, quality health care to lower-income undocumented children. For the first time, Medi-Cal will be available to all lower-income children, ages 0-18, regardless of immigration status. The #Health4All effort to cover all children is ramping up to educate undocumented and mixed immigration-status families in California about the upcoming expansion and steps to take to ensure children can take full advantage of Medi-Cal comprehensive coverage.

Families can begin enrolling eligible children into restricted-scope Medi-Cal now. Those enrolled will be automatically transitioned into comprehensive Medi-Cal, which will provide undocumented children with preventative health services, once the expansion takes effect in May. An eligible child does not need to have an urgent medical need to enroll. Medi-Cal enrollment, for all who are eligible, is open year-round.

Health Access California and the #Health4All campaign will continue its efforts to make sure all people, regardless of immigration status, in California have access to the health coverage and access to care that they need.