Advocate for medical coverage for undocumented adults ages 50 and over
Benefits to providing documented adults with medical coverage
- Medical insurance allows for ongoing and needed medical treatment: Given their higher uninsured rates, many undocumented immigrants delay or go without needed care. Research shows that having insurance makes a difference in whether and when people access needed care.8 Those who are uninsured often delay or go without needed care, which can lead to worse health outcomes over the long-term that may ultimately be more complex and expensive to treat.
- Uninsured/out pocket medical expenses can be detrimental or impossible to afford, especially for low income/working class families. Consider the financial impact of health care costs (or lack of medical coverage) for adults in their 50‘s, in the workforce and with many of them supporting families (children).
Data on uninsured adults in California
- Undocumented Immigrants Continue to Represent a Significant Portion of the State’s Remaining Uninsured Population. Undocumented immigrants above age 25 do not qualify for public financial assistance to obtain comprehensive health care coverage, either through Medi‑Cal or through the state’s Health Benefit Exchange known as Covered California. As a result, they represent a significant portion of the state’s remaining uninsured. Recent estimates indicate that there are likely more than 1.5 million uninsured undocumented immigrants in the state, which represents as much as 50 percent of the state’s remaining uninsured.
Figure 13: provides a brief overview of where the state stands today in terms of Medi‑Cal coverage of undocumented immigrants not currently covered or proposed to be covered by the Governor.
Note on chart: Remaining Population Only Eligible for Restricted Scope Coverage (ages 26-64) = 890,000
- Latino immigrants, between the ages of 20 and 54, are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than U.S.-born people who are not Latino, researchers found.
Increasing coverage to 50 and over would help close the gap and reduce the number of uninsured Calfornians
.Additionally, a 2018 UC Berkeley Labor Center report shows 1.5 million Californians who lack insurance are undocumented — the “largest group of uninsured Californians.”
Who is covered (general population)?
Medi-Cal if You Are Younger than 19
- If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
- If your family has low income, regardless of whether or not you have a disability
If you get SSI, you will automatically qualify for Medi-Cal and do not have to fill out an additional application.
If you don’t get SSI, you can still qualify for Medi-Cal if:
- You live in California
- You and your family have low to moderate income (at or below 266% of FPG, which is $70,490 per year for a family of four)
- You are a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
- Undocumented children and young adults who are 25 years old or younger can get Medi-Cal coverage, if they meet all other program requirements.
- Undocumented adults who are 26 years old and older do not qualify for full Medi-Cal coverage, though they may qualify for Medi-Cal coverage for emergencies or during pregnancy
Medi-Cal if You Are 19 or Older
If you’re 19 or older, you may qualify for Medi-Cal if you are in at least one of these situations.
- You have income below 138% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) ($17,774 per year if you are single).
- You are pregnant and have income below 213% of FPG ($37,105 per year if you are single and pregnant with your first child; the baby is counted as a member of the family).
- You get Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In this case, you automatically qualify for Medi-Cal and do not have to fill out an additional application (see the SSI Eligibility page of this article).
- If you’re on SSI and your income goes up so much that you stop getting an SSI benefit each month, you may still be able to keep getting Medi-Cal through an SSI rule called 1619(b), as long as you make $47,395 per year or less ($48,752 if you’re blind).
- You have low income, low assets, and you have a disability or are blind.