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COVID-19 & Public Charge – A guide for immigrant families and access to healthcare during COVID-19



Download PUBLIC-CHARGE-COVID-19-Immigrant-Families-Info.pdf

For families that are concerned about the “public charge” rule, the United States

immigration officials have confirmed that they will neither

consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination, even if provided or paid for by one or more public benefits considered under the rule including Medi-Cal.

  • Families can get public health assistance for immunizations and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, whether such symptoms are caused by a communicable disease.
  • It is very important that families get tested and get treated as necessary to support the health of themselves and their loved ones.
  • Please do not avoid getting help, the consequences can be very serious.
  • If you have questions or concerns about the public charge rule, please contact an immigration or public benefits attorney. Or email lrodriguez@bettzedek.org for provider information.


California health plans should:

  • Eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for all coronavirus testing and screening (even before coronavirus, Medi-Cal covered all testing and treatment for viruses at no cost);
  • Waive prior authorization requirements for services related to coronavirus testing, screening, and treatment; and
  • Waive prescription drug prior authorization requirements.

These include Medi-Cal Covered California and all health plans. If you have problems or concerns about your health plan, please call the Health Consumer Alliance at 888-804-3536 for a free, confidential consultation and information. TTY 877-735-2929.


Getting tested or treated for coronavirus will not affect your immigration status. Your medical information is confidential. Your doctor may not share it with immigration officials.

Emergency Medi-Cal

Emergency Medi-Cal is NOT included under the Public Charge test. If you qualify, please use this health benefit. If you do not have health insurance, regardless of immigration status, you can receive Emergency Medi-Cal if you meet the federal eligibility requirements.

To find local community and health agencies that can help with your application please call:

Los Angeles County

Department of Public Social Services

Customer Service Center

(866) 613-3777

(626) 569-1399

(310) 258-7400

(818) 701-8200

MyHealth LA

You may also qualify for My Health LA, a health care program for low-income LA County residents. Call 844-744-6452 for more information. Visit dhs.lacounty.gov/MHLA for a list of their clinics.

Community Clinics

If you are unable to get Emergency Medi-Cal and do not qualify for any other program, you can go to the ER and/or local community health clinics called Federally Qualified Health Centers to get medical attention. To locate a health center near you, Click: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

Download the PUBLIC-CHARGE-COVID-19-Immigrant-Families-Info.pdf


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