Health Coverage Expanded to Undocumented in 35 Calif. Counties
On Thursday, the County Medical Services Program board unanimously voted to expand health care coverage to undocumented immigrants and other low-income Californians in 35 rural counties, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The County Medical Services Program was created in the 1980s to pool the resources of counties with fewer than 300,000 residents to help provide indigent health care services.
Details of Expansion
Under the program's expansion, undocumented immigrants and other low-income residents who are ineligible for other aid programs would have access to:
- About $1,000 of prescription drugs; and
- Additional physician visits.
The board also voted to raise the income eligibility standard for the program to 300% of the federal poverty level, or about $12,000 for an individual.
The program changes are projected to cost $6 million to $9 million over the next two fiscal years. According to the Bee, the County Medical Services Program's budget in the past has been strained, but the expansion of Medi-Cal has reduced the number of Californians it provides services to, freeing about $225 million in its budget.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The program's expansion could start by 2016, officials said.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, said that the board "made a very important step forward for access to health care for thousands of Californians" (Sangree, Sacramento Bee, 6/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.