Medi-Cal Transforms Public Health Care

Medi-Cal Transforms Public Health Care

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is committed to ensuring that all eligible Californians can get Medi-Cal coverage for themselves and their families.

Beginning January 1, 2024, a new law in California will allow adults ages 26 through 49 to qualify for full Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status. In this week’s briefing on Nov 15, Medi-Cal state staff and ground-level community health center workers discussed the latest data to re-determine Medi-Cal eligibility, the transition in 21 counties to new managed health care plans, and expanding Medi-Cal to all undocumented immigrants as of January 1st.

Yingjia Huang, Assistant Deputy Director of Health Care Benefits and Eligibility, DHCS said Medi-Cal is California’s version of the federal Medicaid program. Medi-Cal offers no-cost and low-cost health insurance to those individuals living in California that meet the eligibility requirements.  In California, Hispanics are the ethnic group with the largest number of white cardholders. She said that the data collected by DHCS from June to September this year mainly focused on two major groups, one is people under the age of 19, and the other is the elderly over 65 years old. DHCS wants to ensure that the re-examination of the white card will not seriously affect the white card holding rate of these two groups.

Overall, an average of about 21% of people whose white card qualifications are reviewed every month lose their qualifications. However, Yingjia said that compared with other states, this ratio is relatively low. There are many reasons for disqualification, and most people are disenrolled due to procedural issues. For example, the renewal documents were not returned, or the information filled in was incorrect. Other reasons include insufficient income and voluntary withdrawal of the beneficiary.

Michelle Retke, Chief of Managed Care Operations, DHCS introduced the adjustments made by the White Card to the managed health insurance plan on January 1, 2024. She said residents in 21 California counties may experience adjustments to their health insurance plans. For example, Alameda, Contra Costa and Imperial counties will add a single health insurance plan; Los Angeles County has not changed. People can pay attention to the health insurance change notice mailed by the California government, or go online to find the health insurance plan adjustment in their county https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/MCP-Transition/Pages/Members.aspx#CountyTool

In addition, starting from January 1, 2024, the California White Card will cover undocumented immigrants. In this regard, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, professor of internal medicine at UC Davis, said that undocumented farm workers in California will benefit from this, but how to penetrate into the undocumented immigrant group and promote the benefits of the white card to them is a big issue.