Consistent access to health care is necessary for everyone to be healthy and thrive. During the pandemic, millions of Californians with low incomes have been able to keep their Medi-Cal coverage without administrative renewals and regardless of changes to their income. This is because of a temporary “continuous coverage” federal provision.1A provision in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act prohibits states from disenrolling Medicaid beneficiaries during the federally declared Public Health Emergency (PHE). The PHE will expire on April 16, 2022 unless the US Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary extends it again. Despite ongoing hardships due to the pandemic, this federal provision may expire soon, which would disrupt health coverage for many.
Continuous health coverage allows children to receive preventive and primary care
services, which is crucial for very young children. Children who face housing insecurity are particularly vulnerable to losing coverage. When families move, double up with other households, or fall into homelessness, they may not receive timely information or submit paperwork required to maintain coverage, and they could lose continuity of care. About 6 in 10 children under age 5 who are income-eligible for Medi-Cal live in households that pay an unaffordable amount toward housing, placing them at risk of unstable housing and making continuous coverage critical.
The loss of continuous health coverage will particularly affect Latinx children in California.
Latinx children make up about 2 in 3 (66%) young children who are income-eligible for
Medi-Cal and live in households that pay an unaffordable amount of their income toward
housing, exposing the damaging effects of racism.
State policymakers should provide continuous coverage for children on Medi-Cal until at
least their fifth birthday. Every child should have the resources and opportunity to grow up
healthy and thrive.