LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District, and co-authored by Chair of the Board Holly J. Mitchell, Supervisor for the Second District, to support efforts to bolster Medi-Cal enrollment for newly eligible residents age 50 and older, regardless of immigration status.
On July 27, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 133, making California the first state in the nation to expand full-scope Medi-Cal to income-eligible adults 50 years of age or older, regardless of immigration status. Beginning May 1, 2022, approximately 240,000 Californians will become newly eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal, which provides comprehensive healthcare coverage. For eligible individuals already enrolled in restricted-scope Medi-Cal (also known as Emergency Medi-Cal), the California Department of Health Care Services has indicated that their existing Medi-Cal cases will be automatically converted to full-scope Medi-Cal. Those individuals, as well as eligible individuals who are not enrolled in restricted-scope Medi-Cal, will still need assistance and guidance to enroll with a managed care plan to fully utilize the health coverage now available to them and to ensure continuity of care if they currently have a primary care provider. Los Angeles County has approximately 126,000 people who are already enrolled in restricted-scope Medi-Cal and will benefit from this Medi-Cal eligibility expansion.
“Healthcare is a human right, and it should not matter your income, race, ethnicity, or immigration status,” said Supervisor Solis. “The expansion of full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income adults 50 years of age or older, regardless of immigration status, will truly save lives. Thousands of frontline essential workers across our state, who contribute greatly to our economy, have not had access to critical health care services. And when they have, fears around immigration enforcement or the public charge rule change led many to be reluctant to obtain care. To Medi-Cal recipients in the County, I want you to know that this motion is a step toward making your families and our communities more healthy, including those receiving services through the My Health LA program.”
Many clients who are not eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal are enrolled in the County’s My Health LA (MHLA) health coverage program. MHLA eligibility is restricted to low-income adults who live in Los Angeles County and did not qualify for full-scope Medi-Cal. About 60,000 MHLA participants age 50 and above will now be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal. To that end, the County and its partners need to inform eligible individuals of their new full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility and ensure they can continue to receive undisrupted health care services.
“The State’s leadership in expanding the full-scope Medi-Cal to adults 50 years and older regardless of immigration status is an important step towards ensuring equitable access to quality health care and services. It is up to local government to get our residents connected to this vital resource. Our seniors and immigrant residents need specific forms of outreach to ensure they know about the Medi-Cal expansion and how to fully utilize their new Medi-Cal benefits. This is why deploying trusted messengers like Promotoras and community health workers will be key in making sure this transition happens smoothly,” said Chair Mitchell.
Even though the Biden Administration stopped applying the Trump Administration’s Public Charge rule on March 9, 2021, immigrant communities continue to experience the rescinded rule’s chilling effect. Many immigrants are understandably still afraid of accessing critical programs such as Medi-Cal. Additional linguistically, culturally and immigration-appropriate outreach is needed to increase community knowledge and awareness of the availability and safety of critical programs like Medi-Cal.
The motion approved today directs several County agencies to work in collaboration with the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, and community stakeholders, to develop and implement a plan to enroll eligible clients in full-scope Medi-Cal without healthcare service disruption, through special enrollment events and other assistance; conduct outreach and education, and develop outreach materials to immigrants and their families regarding the new full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility and address their concerns about the Public Charge Rule; report back in writing in 90 days on the results of the directives, including the number of projected residents enrolled in Medi-Cal, and next steps to reach those who have not to enroll. Additionally, the motion directs the County’s Chief Executive Office’s Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Branch, in collaboration with the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Department of Public Social Services to support and advocate for state legislation to expand full-scope Medi-Cal and healthcare subsidies to all County residents, regardless of age or immigration status.
To view the full motion, click here.