California will offer public health care to undocumented Californians age 50 and older starting next year in a historic expansion.
The law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Tuesday expanding coverage means more undocumented Californians will be able to receive extended care through Medi-Cal. Previously, eligibility for undocumented residents ended at age 26.
Officials at the California Department of Health Care Services, charged with administering Medi-Cal to income-eligible Californians, say they are working with community organizations and county partners to provide this expanded health care coverage to undocumented immigrants in the state.
Some undocumented Californians are already receiving limited Medi-Cal services through restricted-scope plans that do not cover medicine or primary care. The agency will work to alert those Californians with restricted-scope Medi-Cal about the expansion, according to Anthony Cava, a spokesman for the California Department of Health Care Services.
By the end of the state fiscal year in 2026, officials anticipate 190,000 undocumented immigrants will be enrolled in full-scope Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal coverage for eligible undocumented adults and seniors is anticipated to begin May of next year.
Here’s what you need to know about how to apply:
If I’m not enrolled in Medi-Cal, how can I apply?
Undocumented Californians who aren’t enrolled to receive Medi-Cal benefits should sign up now, according to Celia Valdez, director of education and outreach for the nonprofit organization, Maternal and Child Health Access.
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“Until the Medi-Cal expansion takes effect, newly enrolled individuals would only be eligible for restricted scope Medi-Cal, but they will be included in the transition to full-scope coverage,” Cava said.
Where can I find help to apply?
Valdez said the process to apply can be intimidating for some community members who are not used to receiving preventative health care services. That’s why, she said, it’s important for community members to find help from a health care navigator or enrollment specialist