VIDEO: California Senator Ricardo Lara talks #Health4Allkids at Clinica Sierra Vista in Fresno
California made history last week as it expanded Medi-Cal coverage to all low-income children in the state regardless of their immigration status.
Hundreds of health and immigrant rights advocates gathered at the steps of the State Capitol on May 16 to rally in support and to celebrate the expansion.
In the Central Valley, health and immigrant rights advocates gathered at Clinica Sierra Vida in Fresno to celebrate the expansion and to continue outreach and education of Medi-Cal enrollment for undocumented children.
“With today’s first day of enrollment to full-scope Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented children, we celebrate a historic first step in the fight for Health for All,” said Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director, California Immigrant Policy Center.
The expansion of Medi-Cal to included undocumented income-eligible children makes California the largest state to offer Medi-Cal health care coverage to children living in the state regardless of their immigration status.
Last year California legislators expanded full-scope Medi-Cal, which includes preventive care, dental and mental health coverage as well as routine medical visits to cover all lower-income children under 19 years old regardless of their immigration status.
On May 16, approximately 170,000 undocumented children in California gained access to health coverage for the first time ever. California became the state with the largest immigrant population to provide health care coverage to low-income undocumented children.
“The expansion of health coverage to every low-income child in California, no matter where they were born, is an investment in their ability to learn today and contribute to our communities tomorrow,” said Mayra E. Alvarez, President, The Children’s Partnership.
Senator Ricardo Lara’s Health for All Kids Road to Enrollment Tour culminated in Fresno at Clinica Sierra Vista as a celebration of the May 16th Medi-Cal expansion to all low-income children regardless of immigration status.
“The Central Valley in particular is an area medically underserved,” Lara said of stopping in Fresno, adding that the valley has a large population of immigrants.
“In California, one of six families have mixed status,” Lara said.
The expansion, Lara said, will make a big “impact in the families of the Central Valley.”
“It was important to finish (the tour) in Fresno,” Lara said.
Advocates reminds parents in mixed status families that they don’t have to worry about disclosing their immigration status for enrollment of their undocumented children in Medi-Cal as the information will be kept confidential.
Lara encourage families to enroll their children as soon as possible to make this law successful.
“It’s important for us to let our parents know that the state will not share any (immigration status) information,” Lara said.
According to the Department of Health Care Services, of the 170,000 estimated eligible children for full-scope Medi-Cal, approximately an estimated 114,981 were already enrolled in restricted-scope Medi-Cal benefits. Those who were already enrolled in restricted-scope Medi-Cal gain full access to Medi-Cal benefit last week.
The remaining 55,019 undocumented immigrant children don’t receive any Medi-Cal benefits. DHCS estimates that 50 percent of those undocumented children who don’t receive any Medi-Cal benefit will get enroll in coverage over a 12-month period.
Health advocates estimate that approximately 34,000 low-income undocumented children from Sacramento to Kern counties would gain access to full-scope Medi-Cal now that the expansion is in place and the program is operational.
For more information on the Medi-Cal expansion in English and Spanish visit: www.health4allkids.org or call (855) 899-7587
How to Enroll in Medi-Cal
Medi-Cal enrollment is available year round. You can enroll your child online, over the phone, or in person. Learn more about the options below. Implementation went into effect on May 16. Your child will be enrolled now in full-scope Medi-Cal.
Find In-Person Help
To apply online, visit www.coveredca.com/medi-cal. Complete your application online or print and mail.
You can call Covered California directly to apply at 1(800) 300-1506.
California’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral Service connects families to needed benefits by providing timely, effective access to accurate and comprehensive information and referral for families, including health coverage. 2-1-1 is available 24/7, provides bilingual services, and is free. www.211california.org.