Health Advice



Thousands of undocumented adults in California set to get Medi-Cal, starting Jan. 1

Yesenia Amaro, The Fresno Bee on

Published in Health & Fitness

FRESNO, Calif. -- Undocumented young adults in California will become eligible for Medi-Cal -- the state's health care insurance for low-income families -- when new law takes effect Jan. 1.

More than 1,000 in Fresno County are set to receive the new benefits as soon as the new year rolls around.

The new legislation will extend Medi-Cal benefits to undocumented adults age 19 to 26. Undocumented youth under age 19 were already eligible for health care coverage under a law passed in 2015, and implemented the following year.

In Fresno County, a total of 1,613 undocumented residents age 19 through 25 were already in the county's Medi-Cal system, receiving restricted Medi-Cal benefits, according to Josh Hernandez, a program manager with Fresno County Department of Social Services.

For the past few months, the state has worked with counties to transition people with restricted Medi-Cal to full-scope Medi-Cal benefits, which they will be eligible to receive effective Jan. 1.

Full-scope benefits cover everything, including preventive and primary care, while restricted Medi-Cal only covers emergency care.


"They've all been sent notices notifying them of that switch," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said it's difficult for the county to estimate how many new eligible enrollees it will see, in terms of those who have never applied for Medi-Cal benefits before.

Statewide, officials estimate some 138,000 young undocumented adults will receive full-scope Medi-Cal benefits during the first year of the law's implementation.

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