Two California Programs Offer Health Coverage to Undocumented Immigrants
At least two California groups are offering insurance to "undocumented families" who do not qualify for the state's Medicaid and CHIP programs, known as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, respectively, the Oakland Tribune reports. The not- for-profit group Alameda Alliance for Health's plan, called Family Care, is accepting applications from undocumented families that live in Northern California's Alameda County and earn up to 300% of the federal poverty level, or $51,000 for a family of four. To qualify, children must be members of the alliance, but not be enrolled in Blue Cross of California. The alliance is also offering subsidized medical and dental coverage for the next five years to more than 2,000 residents who have children enrolled in Medi-Cal or Healthy Families. The plan covers in-state and out-of-state emergency care, prescription drugs and hospitalizations. Participants pay $5 for prescriptions and $15 for emergency room visits, but nothing for hospitalizations and check-ups. The plan does not cover vision expenses. Coverage is $10 per month for children younger than age 18, $20 per month for adults age 40 and younger, $30 per month for adults between ages 40 and 50 and $40 for adults ages 50-54. The program covers more than 77,000 uninsured county residents, and the alliance has allocated $6 million from its Community Health Investment Fund to operate the program until 2005. Another program, CaliforniaKids, a Los Angeles-based private health plan, covers undocumented children ages 2-18 who are ineligible for Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. Marmi Bermudez, member services coordinator at Fremont's Tri-City Health Center, said that parents "seem to prefer CaliforniaKids" because of its low- or no-premium plans. However, Bermudez added that the plan "isn't comprehensive," as it does not cover inpatient hospitalizations and major surgeries. Furthermore, the program froze its enrollment in June and is "running out of money," Bermudez said (Sheth, Oakland Tribune, 11/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.