Do Children Get Free Health Care in California?
Are California’s children eligible for free health care? This question may surprise you. Medi-Cal is a program that allows low-income Californians to access medical care. Medi-Cal can pay for doctor’s visits, dental work, prescription medication, and other expenses. Children may be eligible for additional medically required services. Medi-Cal also offers Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT), which provides health screenings for children younger than 21.
Medi-Cal, California’s version federal Medicaid program, provides comprehensive health coverage at a low or zero cost. Medi-Cal may be available to children and adults who meet certain income or asset guidelines. In addition to children and adults, people without children can apply for Medi-Cal. Children, including foster youth can also apply for full-scope MediCal, regardless of their immigration status or household income. To get Medi-Cal coverage, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements and update their information every two years.
In California, the government provides free health insurance for children under the age of 18. Families with an income of up to 261% of the federal poverty level can enroll their infants in CHIP. The program also covers pregnant mothers. The program must report on the CMS Child and Adult Core Set by 2020. California’s program, while states can set their own eligibility criteria, will follow federal guidelines. The program is still available to low-income children as well as their families.
Currently, most Democratic presidential candidates have expressed support for extending health benefits to undocumented immigrants. This move comes as Trump administration intensifies its crackdown against illegal immigration. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the decision is a stark contrast to Trump’s immigration policies. The law draws attention also to a recent poll which showed that nearly two-thirds (or more) of Californians support the move.
A bill currently being considered by Assembly Health Committee will eliminate premiums for California’s children’s healthcare. This bill would eliminate Medi-Cal’s premiums and cost barriers. The bill is currently being assigned to the committee. It could be heard as early March 13.
Waiting periods can be very long when it comes to getting insurance for children. Some states require that a child have been uninsured for a minimum of 90 days before they can sign-up for CHIP. This waiting period is widely criticized as unnecessary, causing many kids to be mistakenly denied coverage or miss out on necessary health care. In addition, waiting periods waste time for the state because they’re administrative.