New Year, New Health Insurance: What you should know about California’s expansion of health insurance to undocumented young adults

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Happy Happy 2020! California is starting the new year and new decade right: by extending health care coverage to all low-income young people – regardless of immigration status! California is one of the first states to expand health coverage to undocumented young people, making us prouder than ever to live in the Golden State.

Here’s what you need to know:

 Who is eligible?

As of January 1, 2020, ALL low-income young people up to age 26, can enroll for free health insurance through Medi-Cal, no matter their immigration status. Before this law was passed, you could only stay on Medi-Cal up until the age of 19!

There is no immigration requirement for children or young adults under the age of 26. This means if you are undocumented and don’t have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – aka Dreamers) status, you can stay on Medi-Cal until your 26th birthday. After that, you can only use Medi-Cal for hospital emergency care or pregnancy-related services and only if you meet the income requirements.

If you have DACA status, you may be able to stay on Medi-Cal longer, depending on you or your family’s income.  Learn more here.

What does full-scope Medi-Cal Coverage include?

Medi-Cal is a program offered in California that provides FREE and low cost health services to low-income individuals.

Medi-Cal offers many benefits, including sexual and reproductive health! You also have access to annual check-ups, dental care, medication, hospitalization, maternity services, and emergency care.

How can I sign up?

You and your loved ones can learn more and sign up here!

You can also get more information and receive confidential help by applying at a clinic or with a community organization. Find a clinic near you here.

What documentation do I need to sign up?

It is helpful to have the following documents while signing up – but if you don’t have them, that’s okay! Ask a staff member at a clinic to help you out.

  1. Proof of identity (photo ID, passpord, consular ID, or a driver’s license)
  2. Proof of your family’s household income
  3. Medi-Cal renewal form (if applicable)

Is there any public charge risk involved in signing up?

No! Medi-cal for young adults under 26 will not count as “public charge.” You can learn more about public charge from our blog post here. If you have questions about your immigration status and accessing health care, please contact an immigration advocate. These groups offer free, confidential immigration help.

Free sexual + reproductive services

If you don’t qualify for Medi-Cal, consider signing up for Family PACT!

California's family planning program, Family PACT helps teens access free sexual and reproductive health services like pregnancy tests, prescription birth control, STD testing and treatment, and counseling (but it does not pay for abortions, prenatal or maternity care.) Family PACT is open to low-income Californians, REGARDLESS of your age or immigration status.

The services provided under FamilyPACT are confidential. You can sign up for FamilyPACT at a clinic near you. To find a provider call 800-952-1054 or go to

Do you have insurance under your parent’s plan? That’s ok too! Your visit can remain confidential when using their insurance if you choose to. But there’s some paperwork you have to fill out first. Learn more here.