Parents are Worried about Enrolling Undocumented Children in Medi-Cal
Last year, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) implemented the “Health For All Kids” law, which allowed California children under the age of 19 to receive full Medi-Cal Benefits, regardless of their immigration status. The benefits also cover dental care and mental health, which is far better than what they received before the law was implemented. Prior to the law, undocumented children only received emergency care provided by Medi-Cal. Almost 190,000 children have been enrolled in Medi-Cal since the law took effect. Kelly Hardy, Children Now’s managing director of health policy, stated:
Holding on to the kids who have recently enrolled is going to become critically important.
It is critical for children to have access to health care services in order for the children to maintain their health and to drive down medical costs. Immigration and health advocates are worried that new children will not enroll in the Medi-Cal program and those that are already enrolled will not renew their Medi-Cal because of the current political climate. The DHCS estimates that there are around 61,000 children that are eligible for Medi-Cal but are not enrolled. It will be important for programs such as Medi-Cal to assure families that their personal information will remain personal and that they will not be targeted for deportation if they enroll in Medi-Cal. Preventative care is important because it brings down the costs of health care and it keeps people healthy.
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