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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Medi-Cal Eligibility for Immigrants?

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Question: My mom, a new green card holder, has an income less than $4000 from my home country. I have sponsored her green card, and signed the affidavit of support (I-846). I am not claiming her as a tax dependent. I've read that for certain federal and states benefits (including non-emergency medi-cal--see source below) my income would be counted as her income to assess her eligibility under "immigrant deeming rules". I have a high enough income that if added to hers, makes her ineligible for medical or discounts on CoveredCA market place. The medi-cal staff did not seem to know much about this and they say they are trained to count the IRS household income to assess eligibility, which means my income does not matter. Which one is correct? Is she eligible for medi-cal? If she is not eligible under medi-cal, does CoveredCA also deem my income as hers? The staff seem to be clueless. My research on this seems to go nowhere. I appreciate your help.

Answer: You can apply for health insurance for you mom through Covered California. Since you do not claim your mother as a dependent, her income alone is considered for eligibility. Since her taxable income is far less than the Covered California minimum, she will be deemed eligible for Medi-Cal. She can "buy into" Medicare once she has been in the US for 5 years.


Isn’t Medi-Cal a means tested benefit? And wouldn’t a means tested benefit require that Medi-cal include sponsor income when determining eligibility for subsidized rates?

Does this mean that in the end she is eligible for Medi-Cal? If yes, what about the deeming rule for sponsored immigrants (with my income pulled in)?

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