Fearing Deportation, Parents Worry About Enrolling Undocumented Kids In Medi-Cal (B Busco/Getty Images) Luz felt relieved and grateful when she learned that her 16-year-old son qualified for full coverage under Medi-Cal.
Luz’s son is one of nearly 190,000 children who have enrolled in Medi-Cal since California opened it to undocumented children last year. Luz, her husband and her son came to Merced, Calif., from Mexico without papers about 10 years ago.
Last year, enrollment counselors saw up to 400 people a month who had questions about Medi-Cal, the majority looking to enroll their children, Jimenez said. But after the November presidential election, enrollment counselors at Mixteco saw the number of people seeking help drop by nearly half, Jimenez said.
Worried parents calling L.A. Care seem to be heeding the agency's advice, he says, noting that there has not been a dip in enrollment. There has been a significant decrease in the number of families enrolling and re-enrolling unauthorized immigrant kids in Medi-Cal in the 16 L.A. clinics run by Eisner Health, according to Susie Ramirez, a supervisor in the firm's patient relations department.
Previously, undocumented children could receive only emergency care through Medi-Cal. California followed Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Washington and the District of Columbia in offering state-supported health coverage to children in the country illegally.
L.A. Care CEO John Baackes says his staff is explaining to concerned parents that Medi-Cal has already shared their children’s information with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but that under current policy, that agency can’t share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.