Legislation aims to expand health insurance in California

health insurance exchange
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State seeks to make insurance coverage accessible to undocumented residents

New legislation in California could extend health insurance coverage to undocumented residents. The legislation is currently being considered by the California State Senate Appropriations Committee. If the legislation manages to make its way through the legislative process and becomes law, undocumented immigrants will gain access to health insurance benefits and, perhaps, subsidies that will allow them to afford the coverage that they need. This coverage would be available through the state’s insurance exchange.

Estimated 1 million undocumented residents lack insurance coverage

Currently, undocumented residents are prohibited from purchasing insurance coverage from the state’s exchange. An estimated 2.3 million undocumented immigrants live in the state, with more than 1 million of these people lacking the health insurance coverage they need. This presents a problematic issue for those with serious health conditions, as they cannot receive the medical care that they need because they simply cannot afford to do so.

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Those without insurance could find coverage through state’s exchange

health insurance exchangeThe legislation would make it possible for undocumented residents to make use of the state’s insurance exchange, which offers various policies of different costs. Some may be eligible to receive subsidies from the federal government through the insurance exchange, making this coverage more accessible. The Department of Health and Human Services would seek out a waiver from the federal government to make the insurance exchange more accessible, but if this fails, the state’s Medicaid program would be expanded to make it available to undocumented residents.

Minor exchange may be established in order to expand the availability of health insurance coverage for undocumented residents

If the federal agency cannot obtain a waiver from the federal government, the state would establish a “minor exchange,” which would serve as a marketplace for undocumented consumers. This exchange would function in the same way as its larger counterpart, but would not offer subsidies to those using it. Currently, the legislation has attracted significant support from various organizations within California, as well as lawmakers that want to make health insurance more accessible.

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