Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), low-income childless adults are finally eligible for Medi-Cal as of January 1, 2014. As of the end of March, nearly 2 million individuals had enrolled in Medi-Cal:
- 1.1 million had enrolled through Covered California
- An additional 800,000 had been determined likely eligible but had not yet enrolled
- 650,000 transitioned into Medi-Cal through the Low-Income Health Program (LIHP)
- 180,000 applied through Express Lane program
Of these new enrollees, nearly 3 out of 4 (73%) were from communities of color:
- 38% Latino
- 17% Asian
- 6% African American
- 3% Mixed Race
- 9% Other
- 27% White
In addition, 22% listed a primary language other than English, with 15% Spanish and 6% Asian languages.
Prior to the expansion, it was projected that 2 out of 3 (67% or 950,000) would be from communities of color and over one-third (35% or 500,000) of the newly eligible would speak English less than very well. For more information on these projections, please see our fact sheet, “Medi-Cal Expansion: What’s at Stake for Communities of Color.”
In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two bills that provided the legislative framework for the Medi-Cal expansion, ABx1 1 (J. Perez) and SBx1 1 (Hernandez).
- Expanding eligibility to childless adults and those with incomes up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level ($16,105 per year for an individual).
- Maintaining state-only Medi-Cal for currently eligible individuals. Parents and caretakers will also be allowed to stay in Medi-Cal with their children.
- Adding mental health and substance use services as Medi-Cal benefits.
- Expanding services for pregnant women.
- Streamlining the process for renewing coverage:
- Counties will outreach to former foster youth who lost coverage when they turned 21 but are not yet 26. Youth stay on Medi-Cal FFS if renewal form is undeliverable.
- Requires the Department of Health Care Services to use electronic verification of age, birth date, family size, pregnancy status, residency, and household income before paper.
- Repeals mid-year status reports and streamlines the process for renewing coverage.
- Low-Income Health Program enrollees with income below 133% FPL automatically transitioned to Medi-Cal on January 1, 2014.