Photo: Health insurance
Close to 125,000 young immigrants in California who benefit from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are eligible for Medi-Cal, the Golden State’s Medicaid program, a report released Tuesday said.
The analysis, presented by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, says that many of those young people are unaware they are eligible for Medi-Cal or run into obstacles in signing up.
In most states, DACA beneficiaries may not sign up for Medicaid, but California takes a different approach.
“This state policy could significantly improve health coverage rates among these young immigrants, increase access to the care they need, and reduce the burden on safety net providers,” Laurel Lucia, a policy analyst with the UC Berkeley Labor Center, said.
“However, immigrant youth may still face barriers to enrolling because they lack information on the program or fear deportation for themselves or family members,” she said.
The report calculates that of the 300,000 young people who could benefit from DACA in California, 154,000 have already obtained that benefit. It also estimates that some 69 percent of young immigrants have no health insurance.
The survey was taken in California among 550 undocumented immigrants who are DACA beneficiaries between ages 18-32.