California becomes first state to offer health care to all Californians, regardless of immigration status

January 3, 2024 /

Starting January 2024 individuals, regardless of immigration status, between the ages of 26 to 49 can be provided full coverage of Medi-Cal if they meet the eligibility criteria. All other Medi-Cal requirements still apply, including income eligibility. This new California law, Age 26-49 Adult Expansion, was introduced after Senate Bill 184 (Chapter 47, Statutes of 2022), Senate Bill 75, the Young Adult Expansion, and the Older Adult Expansion.

This new Adult Expansion means that any California residents who qualify for Medi-Cal can be eligible for its benefits, immigration status does not matter. Including undocumented immigrants. This makes California the first and only state to do so. 

This new Adult Expansion came nine years after California’s then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that undocumented children were able to join Medi-Cal in 2015 and four years after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s expansion of full-scope Medi-Cal access for young adults ages 19 through 25, regardless of immigration status in 2019. The Older Adult Expansion came to be in May 2022. 

According to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), applying for or having Medi-Cal will not affect an individual’s immigration status and will not make anyone a public charge. The governor estimates the new Expansion will benefit 707,000 individuals. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new budget deal that included the new Adult Expansion last May. 

“This historic investment speaks to California’s commitment to health care as a human right,” said California’s Sen. María Elena Durazo in a statement last May.

Age Policy

California individuals who are between the ages 26 to 49 in January 2024 and currently do not have Medi-Cal, can apply in January 2024. 

What to need to enroll

In order to enroll individuals will need:

  • Driver’s license or photo ID (can include/or passport, school ID, marriage record, work badge or identification issued by an individual’s home country).
  • Proof of income (If an individual does not have any pay stubs or bank statements they can describe their income to an eligibility worker.)
  • Proof of where you live (example: telephone or electric bill)

Where to apply 

Spanish speakers can get more information and help to apply at the Covered California’s Spanish line: (800) 300-0213

Individuals can also go to their local county office. For help finding their address go to

For Kern County residents:

Kern County Department of Human Services

100 E. California Avenue

Bakersfield, CA 93307

Phone: (661) 631-6807

According to DHCS, Medi-Cal is also having new improvements to its benefits: coordinated access to care, more culturally competent care, Better behavioral and physical health integration, focus on primary care use and investment, reinvestment in community, robust engagement with community advisory groups, and increased transparency.

Haley Duval

Haley is a reporter for Kern Sol News since December of 2023. She was born and raised in East Bakersfield and went to Foothill High School. Haley studied Journalism at Bakersfield College. When Haley is not reporting, she enjoys writing poetry, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family. She can be reach at