Frequently Asked Questions

1Why is it important to have health insurance for my children?
Studies have shown that children who have health insurance get sick less often, and learn better and faster in school than children without health insurance. It is also easier to get in to see a doctor and is less expensive for a parent when a child has health insurance. For example, if your child seriously injures her arm and you take her to the emergency room (ER). Without health insurance, going to the ER could cost $1,490, X-rays an additional $390, and the ER doctor’s fees an additional $375. With health insurance, you could pay $0 for all the above ER services.
2Are Medi-Cal and Healthy Kids “welfare programs”?
No. They are not considered welfare programs. They are insurance programs for working families that cannot afford the high cost of health insurance that is offered through a job, or private insurance.
3Can my children qualify for health insurance if they are undocumented?
Yes. Health insurance is available for immigrant children without documentation. Their families just need to meet the income and home address requirements. Ask a Certified Application Assistor with the Health Coverage Unit.
4Will it cause problems with immigration if my children receive Medi-Cal or Healthy Kids insurance benefits?
No. Having public health insurance will not cause potential problems with immigration because it is not a cash benefit. It will not affect your plans to 1) apply for legal permanent residency or U.S. citizenship or 2) to re-enter the U.S. if you travel to another country. Problems with immigration can happen only if your family receives government cash benefits and does not have other income or support. This is called being a “public charge”.
5What documents do I need to apply for health insurance for my children?
Depending on the program a Certified Application Assistor recommends for your application, examples of required documents are; child’s birth certificate (country where child was born), child’s Legal Permanent Residency Card (green card), child’s social security card, parents’ proof of income (last paystub, last year’s taxes, employer letter, etc.), and parents’ proof of address (recent utility bill, CA ID, etc.).
6What if I do not receive paycheck stubs from work, or do not have the other documents?
If you do not have a required type of document, a Certified Application Assistor with the Health Coverage Unit can help you complete certain forms that can be used in place of certain documents.
7Can I choose which health insurance program to apply for?
No. A Certified Application Assistor will screen your child’s eligibility to determine which insurance program you can apply for. Your child can be eligible for one program only. For example, if your daughter is eligible for full scope Medi-Cal without share-of-cost, she is not eligible for Healthy Kids. If she is eligible for Healthy Kids, she is not eligible for Medi-Cal.
8What are my choices for doctors? Can I choose my child’s doctor?
You will be able to choose your child’s doctor from a network of doctors. When your child is enrolled in either Medi-Cal or Healthy Kids, you will receive a packet of information that includes the list of doctors in San Mateo County.
9Do other counties have Medi-Cal or Healthy Kids insurance for children?
Every county in California offers Medi-Cal insurance. These are statewide programs funded by the state and federal government. Healthy Kids is available only in some counties because it is not a statewide program. It is funded by local government and community organizations. Contact your county’s health department or clinic to get more information.