Beginning in May, SB-4 and SB-75 will collectively expand services offered via Medi-Cal’s free or low-cost health coverage for people with limited income. The full scope of Medi-Cal services includes hospitalization, prevention and wellness treatments, chronic disease management and pediatric care.
According to health officials in the state, no immigration papers will be needed to apply for services, and coverage does not affect a person’s application for residency. The Los Angeles Times estimates this new policy will allow approximately 170,000 more children access to Medi-Cal, and that it will cost about $132 million annually.
“No child should be denied full access to the medical services they need to develop into healthy individuals,” said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, Chair of the Board of Supervisors Health Committee. “State and federal lawmakers now need to act to allow undocumented residents to purchase health plans through Covered California, so more families can benefit from the security provided by having comprehensive health insurance.”
Currently, children who are in the country illegally are only eligible for limited health services, according to the state.
The California Department of Health Care Services lays out the new benefits for families as follows:
- Your child gets medical care, vision exams, dental care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services that are available under Medi-Cal.
- If you move, be sure to tell your child’s Medi-Cal eligibility worker so your child does not have any problems seeing a doctor.
- Your child will be provided a Medi-Cal card (called a Benefits identification Card or BIC).
- Your child will receive full-scope benefits that are NOT restricted to emergency-only services.