On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed in to law a historic piece of legislation that will allow undocumented immigrants access health insurance plans through Covered California – the state Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.
California’s SB 10 requires the state to apply for a federal waiver under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act in order to expand health coverage through the state health care marketplace. The waiver will allow undocumented immigrants and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to buy health insurance policies through the Covered California exchange for the first time.
Children and families that may have been here for their entire lives can obtain only emergency care under California’s current rules. But a lack of preventative care leads to a cycle of sickness for thousands of families.
In fiscal year 2014/15, California spent approximately $1.3 billion on emergency and maternity treatment for undocumented immigrants.
Though adult non-citizens would not qualify for financial assistance in paying their health care costs, as most Americans on ACA plans do, this expansion of the law would allow mixed-citizenship families to shop and apply for coverage in the same place at the same time.