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Health and Human Services

For Immediate Release

Immigration status no longer limits scope of Medi-Cal benefits for adults 50 and older

Santa Rosa, CA | May 02, 2022

En español »

California residents aged 50 and older who qualify for Medi-Cal are now eligible for full benefits, regardless of immigration status, under an expansion of the state health insurance program for low-income residents, the Sonoma County Department of Human Services announced today.

This means that nearly 2,000 Sonoma County residents whose Medi-Cal benefits were limited because of their immigration status have been automatically upgraded into full-scope coverage, beginning May 1. Anyone who qualifies for health care coverage through Medi-Cal should enroll immediately, said Felisa Pinson, director of the county Department of Human Services’ Economic Assistance Division.

More than 100,000 Sonoma County residents receive health care coverage through the Medi-Cal program, which provides access to free or low-cost medical and dental services to low-income adults and families.

“Medi-Cal is a critical service in Sonoma County. This expansion will reach nearly 2,000 county residents and will provide an access point to a full breadth of medical care that was before unattainable to this community. The expansion means that, regardless of immigration status, eligible adults over 50 will be able to afford medications, doctor visits, dental visits and preventative care,” Pinson said. “This will improve the health of our community substantially and result in fewer emergency room visits because of access to preventative care. We are excited to be able to help people secure these fundamental services.”

Previously, Medi-Cal clients without satisfactory immigration status were able to access limited medical care, otherwise known as “restricted scope” coverage. The expansion will give them access to more robust services, known as “full scope” coverage, including dental care and preventative visits.

Information about the expansion of full scope Medi-Cal benefits to adults 50 and older, regardless of immigration status, is available in English and Spanish from the state Department of Health Care Services.

Medi-Cal offers free or low-cost health coverage for California residents who meet eligibility requirements. Eligibility is assessed utilizing a number of factors including income, household composition and countable assets.

Individuals who are interested in applying for Medi-Cal may do so online, by mail, by telephone or in person. To apply online, visit or Individuals can also call the Sonoma County Economic Assistance Service center Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at (877) 699-6868. For a paper application, clients may call the Service Center or come into one of our lobbies: 2550 Paulin Dr., Santa Rosa, CA or 5350 Old Redwood Highway North, Suite 100, Petaluma. In-person lobby hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Media Contact:
Kristen Font, Communications Manager
Department of Human Services
(707) 565-8085