California Expands Medicaid Eligibility to All Undocumented Residents

By no later than 2024, California will allow residents aged 26-50 with any immigration status to enroll in Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program — making the state the first in the nation to allow all undocumented residents to enroll in safety-net insurance programs. State officials estimate that Medi-Cal enrollment statewide could grow by more than 700,000 as a result of the expansion, and follows a similar move last year to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to undocumented Californians aged 50 and over, a cohort of about 185,000 people, according to the office of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

That enrollment surge will likely come at the same time as state agencies and managed care organizations wind down record Medicaid enrollment backed by pandemic relief funds and the national suspension of eligibility redeterminations required by the federal pandemic response measures. The CEO of the state’s largest MCO, L.A. Care, tells AIS Health, a division of MMIT, that the insurer is staffing up to address the administrative challenges — and said the expansion should improve health outcomes for a group of residents who are underserved and disadvantaged by the current setup.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has been a reporter for nearly a decade. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered a wide variety of topics in his hometown of Seattle, where he continues to live. Peter’s work has appeared in publications including The Atlantic and The Stranger. Peter attended Colby College.

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