Undocumented California immigrant youths get Medicaid

From May, California will become the very first state in the whole of the US to allow youths who are undocumented immigrants to be able to gain access to Medicaid. Around 170,000 youths under the age of 19 who do not have legal status in the United States will become eligible for Medicaid as of next month thanks to a law that was passed in the fall of 2015, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.

Experts believe that around 50 percent of those expected to enroll in Medicaid live in Orange County and Los Angeles. The expansion of the Medicaid program will cost around $40 million for its first year and a further $132 million per annum from then on, says Healthcare Services, which is responsible for overseeing the healthcare scheme for the poor in California, Medi-Cal.

Medi-Cal is California’s version of the Medicaid program run by the federal government, but the state will cover the cost of providing care for undocumented immigrant youths as they are not eligible to get federal money. Youngsters in families that earn up to as much as 266 percent of the poverty limit set by the federal government are eligible to receive low-cost or even free Medi-Cal, with the income limit currently being set at $64,000 per annum for a family with four members.


The law has had a number of logistical difficulties with its enactment, but is still expected to come into effect on May 16, with retroactive coverage backdating to the beginning of the month.