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Up to 220,000 California children excluded from health care reform due to immigrant status
Date:6/30/2011

Restrictions on eligibility for health care reform programs will result in the potential exclusion of up to 220,000 children from affordable health care coverage in California, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The number represents approximately 20 percent of all uninsured children in California.

Of those children, up to 40,000 may be eligible for coverage but may not apply, due to confusion about new rules governing access to both the California Health Benefit Exchange and the state's expanded Medi-Cal program.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) restricts its health insurance expansions in ways that exclude many uninsured children in California who are immigrants or have immigrant parents. And the policy brief's authors note that immigrant parents, potentially misinterpreting eligibility requirements for these new programs, may not enroll their eligible citizen children.

"Health care reform restrictions raise some very unpleasant questions about our willingness as a society to let children go without care," said the study's lead author, Ninez Ponce, a faculty associate with the center and an associate professor at the UCLA School of Public Health. "And confusion over the rules may result in even eligible children being cut off from coverage."

Who's excluded?

Using data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the study's authors estimate that under the ACA, approximately 30,000 undocumented immigrant children will be barred from participating in the Health Benefit Exchange, a newly established marketplace for health care plans with subsidies for lower-income Californians. Although their parents will be able to purchase private insurance outside of the exchange, they would not benefit from its protections or competitive prices.

In addition, approximately 150,000 uninsured children will be excluded f
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Contact: Gwen Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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