Report

Comprehensive Health Coverage Can Help California’s Undocumented Seniors Now and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

Policymakers have implemented various short-term actions to mitigate the serious health threat caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that COVID-19 does not discriminate, some groups are at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19 and even death. This includes seniors, and in particular, undocumented seniors with low incomes who have been historically excluded from comprehensive health coverage due to their immigration status. While the state recently extended coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment in Medi-Cal, this is a temporary solution for a long-term systemic problem. Undocumented seniors can significantly benefit from having access to the preventive health services and routine care that promote overall health. State policymakers can improve health equity by expanding Medi-Cal eligibility to California’s seniors who are undocumented. Doing so would help to address the deep underlying health needs that put these seniors at a higher risk of illness in the first place.

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