Over the coming year about 2.3 million Californians, a million of them children, are expected to lose Medi-Cal, which is health insurance coverage for low-income families – as the state redetermines all enrollees’ eligibility after the pandemic.
In June alone, 225,000 people were disenrolled from the program, including 64,000 kids. An estimated 89% still qualify financially.
Joan Alker – a research professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy, and the executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University – explained that many families either moved and haven’t received the renewal letters, or they’re having trouble with the paperwork.
“It’s very complicated, understanding some of these notices that families are getting,” said Alker. “Families try to call the call center and they can’t get through. And unfortunately, often, the burden is falling on families to really try to push through this process.”
Confusion is rampant because the system does not issue receipts that prove that documents have been received or notify people that their packets are being processed.
About 15 million Californians, including 5.7 million children, are enrolled in Medi-Cal. Kristen Golden Testa, director of Health Policy with the Children’s Partnership, said families need to be proactive.
“One: Make sure your county has your up-to-date contact information,” said Testa. “Two: Be on the lookout in the mail for a yellow envelope, which is saying you need to renew and here’s what you need to fill out. And send it back in.”
Liza Davis, director of community engagement and advocacy at the Children’s Partnership, noted that Medi-Cal eligibility also determines a variety of benefits for kids at school.
“It’s really greater than just losing your Medi-Cal and then having to renew and, you know, having to delay an appointment,” said Davis. “No, it’s pretty consequential because there’s a ripple effect and there are so many things that are connected to your Medi-Cal enrollment.”