No-cost healthcare program
As the new year began, low-income residents were hit with shocking news as they learned My Health LA is closing on Jan. 31. My Health LA is a no-cost healthcare program for low-income individuals who live in Los Angeles County. Participants received primary care at community clinics and specialty, emergency, and urgent care at Health Services clinics and hospitals. Participants also receive medications, mental health care, and substance use disorder treatment. But, while things started to look gloomy for participants, Medi-Cal stepped up to ensure residents that they were here for them.
California has expanded Medi-Cal to all low-income individuals between ages 26-49, regardless of immigration status, to receive medical benefits from the program. New Participants can apply to Medi-Cal through a myriad of ways like signing up online, visiting a clinic and asking about the program, or by calling (833) 54-0473 and saying they want to sign up for MEDI-CAL. “We need healthcare, and I’m glad Medi-Cal is open to all residents because it can change people’s lives for the better,” said Louise McCarthy, the president & CEO of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County.
Decades ago, McCarthy was hit with a $22,000 medical bill after receiving care from the hospital and not being eligible for medical coverage under her parents anymore. But acting swiftly, she was able to apply for Medi-Cal and get approved in a 24-hour period, which resulted in her hospital bill being covered by the program. “We are entitled to medical, dental, and behavioral health services at no cost. Having access to these services matters. When people can access the proper health services, it keeps them healthy and alive longer, helps them provide for their families better, and helps them be a part of their community.”
McCarthy talked about the importance of healthcare workers who want to do their jobs and help their patients. “So there are helpers to help with the paperwork. And some people are committed to making sure that everyone is eligible for medical benefits in this program. They’re game changers, they’re lifesavers.” McCarthy added that healthcare provides jobs for many who would benefit from it because they could provide health insurance for their families. “I want to say that those community health centers are also hiring because they’re seeing so many more people coming in without insurance. There are jobs available at community health centers. So look into your communities at your community health centers, and you’ll see that they are hiring all. Host of different types of positions. So health care coverage also creates opportunity, meaning that people can work in health care and get covered by these programs.”
To learn more about the changes to Medi-Cal and to see if you qualify for insurance, visit your nearest health clinic where staff will provide you with the information and resources that you will need to get health insurance this year.