Medi-Cal (Medicaid in California)

Insuring More Than 12 Million+ Californians

Medi-Cal provides quality, comprehensive coverage to children, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities and now thanks to the Affordable Care Act, low-income childless adults. To be eligible, citizens and lawful permanent adults must earn no more than 138% of the federal poverty level ($27,724 for a family of three in 2015). Through Medi-Cal, low-income Californians receive preventive care, doctor visits, hospitals stays, medications, and other vital medical services. For every dollar California spends on Medi-Cal, it receives a dollar or more from the federal government, more than doubling the investment of each state dollar into this eminently cost-effective program.

Recent Achievements

  • Early Medi-Cal Expansion. California was one of the only states to expand Medi-Cal early, drawing down federal matching funds to serve nearly 700,000 Californians in the county-run Low-Income Health Programs (LIHP). The LIHPs help to facilitate California’s short and long-range ACA implementation goals by providing care in the context of a medical home and preparing patients to auto-enroll in coverage.  On January 1, 2014, every person enrolled in a LIHP automatically transitioned to comprehensive Medi-Cal.
  • Immigrant Inclusion. California has extended affordable health care coverage to a broader group of legally residing immigrants than what is required by federal law. The Medi-Cal program includes children, parents, seniors and persons with disabilities who are lawful permanent residents living here less than five years. California’s Medi-Cal program also includes persons residing under the color of law (PRUCOL), including those eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) like the DREAM Act students. Learn more here.
  • Express Lane Eligibility. To help facilitate enrollment California identified over 600,000 adults and 150,000 children served in the CalFRESH food assistance program and made it easy for them to enroll in Medi-Cal. Health Access and our partners have made the case to continue this “horizontal integration” of human services, so that when someone is linked to one program whose eligibility guidelines are similar to Medi-Cal’s, they have easy or “express lane” eligibility for Medi-Cal.

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Health Access Advocacy & Analysis

Additional Resources