California Opens Its Medicaid Program To Eligible "Unauthorized Immigrants" Age 50+...
As millions of Medicaid enrollees nationally are set to lose their benefits this summer when a federal pandemic-era program ends
This month, California became the first state to enact a law (Ab-4) permitting immigrants age 50 and older who are “residing in the state without legal permission” to sign up for Medicaid benefits.
The milestone comes at a time when millions of U.S. residents nationally are set to lose benefits on August 1, when a pandemic program approved by Congress in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency is set to end.
Medicaid offers health insurance for individuals with incomes below 138% of federal poverty line.
According to a May 10 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), between 5.3 million and 14.2 million people nationally will lose Medicaid benefits this summer unless Congress extends the pandemic program, which provides a federal match to states that keep Medicaid recipients continuously enrolled.
KFF estimates Medicaid enrollment will grow 25% from 2019 through the end of FY 2022. KFF says states will have received about $100.4 billion in enhanced funding over the three-year program.
KFF says children account for 42% of the current total Medicaid enrollment of 22.2 million. The remainder are “expansion” adults (33%), other adults (20%), the aged and people with disabilities (6%).
A press release from CA Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office says 235,000 undocumented immigrants in the state aged 50 years and older are now eligible to receive Medicaid benefits through California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, which includes preventive services, long-term care and In-Home Supportive Services.
Newsom called the CA law a “bold initiative” to advance more “equitable and prevention-focused health care.”
In 2019, California extended Medicaid coverage to undocumented young adults up to the age of 26. More than 220,000 unauthorized immigrants ages 25 and under are now enrolled in Medi-Cal.
Who Will Pay?
The federal Medicaid program prohibits payment to states for medical assistance to aliens who are not lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise permanently residing in the United States under color of law.
So who will pay for California’s Medicaid expansion, which is expected to cost $1.3 billion this year alone?
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