Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Deferred action status and Medi-Cal for immigrants

According to one report, there could be close to 125,000 California immigrants qualifying for Medi-Cal.  While the Affordable Care Act prevents undocumented immigrants from receiving insurance subsidies or enrollment in the Medicaid program, coverage may be allowed under California law for immigrants with "deferred action status."

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program came about in 2012 in an effort to grant immigrant children brought to this country a chance for two-year work periods and possible legal status.  California is only one of a small number of states that allows young people with deferred action status to participate in Medicaid. 

Unfortunately, information concerning this program is not always known or understood. It's also possible that a fear of deportation has kept family members of individuals from enrolling in the program. One 25-year-old woman was hesitant to apply possibly because both of her parents lacked legal status in this country.

The Covered California exchange has come under criticism for failing to sign the state's Latino population up in greater numbers. Only recently $8.2 million was committed to advertisements about this program in Spanish. This is an extensive increase in spending compared to what was spent on this matter late last year.

Part of the reason that family-based immigration attorneys are needed is precisely because immigrants do not always understand what they are entitled to as far as benefits when living in the U.S. The laws governing immigration can be confusing. Attorneys can also provide representation to immigrants to make certain that no unwarranted deportations take place.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Report: 125,000 immigrants given deferred action eligible for Medi-Cal," Soumya Karlamangla, Feb. 25, 2014

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