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Medi-Cal Expansion Provided 286,000 Undocumented Californians With Comprehensive Health Care

DHCS implemented the older adult expansion to provide state-funded full scope Medi-Cal to individuals 50 years of age or older who are ineligible for federally-funded full scope Medi-Cal because of their immigration status. Included are individuals 50 years of age or older who were enrolled in restricted scope Medi-Cal prior to implementation of the older adult expansion on May 1.

“Thousands of additional Californians are now getting the health coverage they need to live long, healthy lives,” said DHCS Director Michelle Baass. “When all Californians have access to equitable, quality health care, our entire health system is stronger.”

Expanding health coverage to older Californians benefits individuals of all ages. Illness and injury do not discriminate. When all Californians are given access to preventive services, and regular health care, and home-based care, they stay healthier and avoid the emergency room and nursing home. Eliminating disparities in health coverage is critical to address racial disparities in health.

The state has worked for the last several years to extend comprehensive health coverage to more Californians. In May 2016, children under 19 years of age became eligible for full scope Medi-Cal benefits, and in January 2020, full scope Medi-Cal was extended to young adults ages 19 through 25, regardless of immigration status. These individuals previously only qualified for restricted scope Medi-Cal services, such as emergency, prenatal, and long-term care. Now they can access the full range of benefits available to full scope Medi-Cal beneficiaries, including no-cost/low-cost quality health, mental health, substance use disorder services, vision, and dental care, and home and community based services.

The next step in California’s commitment to a Healthy California for All is the expansion of full scope Medi-Cal coverage to an estimated 700,000-plus adults ages 26 through 49 who do not have a satisfactory immigration status for federally funded full scope Medi-Cal, effective January 1, 2024.

“These four expansions will, in the end, result in all lower-income Californians being able to access quality, affordable health services,” said Baass. “The expanded coverage and new enrollments are very much the result of increased advocacy and outreach efforts undertaken by our county and community-based partners. Together we are building a Healthy California for All.”