CALIFORNIA (KION) California has become the first state to allow certain adult children to enroll their parents in its health insurance plan. The California Governor signed the Parental Health Care Act into law this week and it will go into effect in 2023.
Experts believe this will allow more undocumented people to now have access to health care, including hundreds on the Central Coast.
Assembly Bill 570, or the Parent Health Insurance Act will benefit people like Magdalena Carrillo, who has been selling flowers on the streets of Salinas for 25 years without being able to buy health insurance.
"Sometimes I stop myself from going to the doctor, but when it's necessary I go," Carrillo. explained. She said that for years she has had to pay out of pocket to see a doctor because she doesn't qualify for MediCal or other programs like her children did when they were young.
But thanks to AB 570 she and other parents, regardless of their immigration status, will be able to enroll in health insurance for their children.
"It would be a relief for them to cover me," Carrillo said.
The Health Insurance for Parents Act will take effect in 2023.
"People who are of legal age, who are dependent on their children, who live with them and who depend at least 50% of their support on their children qualify to be included in the insurance policy," explained Jazmin Ortega, a spokesperson for the California Department of Insurance.
The department estimates that some 15,000 people will be able to benefit from this change throughout the state.
"This law is for people who have health insurance through the private market such as Covered California and does not include the health insurance you get from your job," Ortega added.
The goal is to expand access to health insurance among adults who do not qualify for other programs because of their income or immigration status. According to studies by UC Berkley and UCLA, 1.8 million Californians do not have health insurance because of their immigration status. And another 550,000 people simply can't afford it.
"It's a way for us to be able to take care of our parents because in this day and age it's very difficult to afford health care, especially for someone who doesn't have health insurance," Ortega added.
It is important to note that the state also recently expanded the MediCal program to cover anyone over the age of 50 with low income and regardless of immigration status. That change will be implemented starting May 1, 2022.