- Felicia Matlosz
SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) has introduced Assembly Bill 1995 to eliminate Medi-Cal premiums charged to pregnant women, children, and people with disabilities. The measure would remove barriers that can disrupt vital health care services because of inability to pay.
Assemblymember Arambula and advocates believe the system needs to be updated to address disparities. Many families on Medi-Cal may have an income just over the free Medi-Cal limit, which means they must pay the premiums, and this causes financial hardships. What’s more, these premiums yield relatively little cost savings for the State.
California currently requires more than 535,000 pregnant woman, children, and people with disabilities to pay monthly premiums to keep their Medi-Cal coverage.
AB 1995 would ensure these families won’t lose their Medi-Cal coverage, giving them peace of mind that their access to health care won’t be suspended.
The bill is co-sponsored by Children Now and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
Assemblymember Arambula said: “During my years as an emergency room physician, I saw what happened to people and families that had delayed medical care because they had no access to health insurance or had lost their insurance. The consequences were severe, devastating, or worse. We need to change the system so that pregnant women, children, and people with disabilities can be assured their Medi-Cal coverage continues, and they won’t have to choose between paying for health care or paying household bills.”
Ted Lempert, President of Children Now, said: “Children Now applauds Dr. Arambula’s leadership in calling on the State to support health equity and economic security for California children through the introduction of Assembly Bill 1995, which will allow over 500,000 families to forgo having to pay premiums each month in order to access Medi-Cal benefits. AB 1995 will eliminate Medi-Cal premiums so that thousands of families and pregnant people won’t have to choose between health coverage and putting food on the table or paying for other basic needs.”
Linda Nguy, Senior Policy Advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said: “Western Center is proud to co-sponsor this bill to ensure Medi-Cal health coverage is affordable. As it stands, too many have to choose between health care and rent, food, or other necessities. Even with incomes below $2,850 a month, people with disabilities who work part-time are still expected to pay up to $250 every month on premiums, which is a huge financial burden — this bill will stop that.”