Judge Denies Restraining Order Against Medi-Cal Cancellations
A California judge has denied a request for a temporary restraining to prevent the state Department of Health Care Services from canceling coverage for thousands of Medi-Cal beneficiaries, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Brown, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 11/19).
On Monday, a coalition of advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against DHCS, alleging that Medi-Cal beneficiaries have not been properly notified that they must renew their coverage.
Jen Flory -- a senior attorney at the Western Center on Law & Poverty -- said that the complexity of the updated renewal forms is causing a high number of beneficiaries to not respond. She said, "Our concern is that a lot of them don't really understand what's going on and haven't had an opportunity to provide the adequate information."
In addition, the groups that filed the suit applied for a temporary restraining order to prevent DHCS from canceling coverage for those who have not received clear notification (California Healthline, 11/18).
As a result of the judge's decision, more than 91,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Los Angeles County are set to receive letters notifying them that they will be dropped from coverage on Nov. 30, according to "L.A. Now."
According to DHCS spokesperson Anthony Cava, the coverage termination is not final, as those who receive discontinuation notices have 90 days to provide the state with the necessary documentation to stay on Medi-Cal's rolls.
However, the lawsuit filed Monday argues that the cancellation notices do not properly explain that individuals have a 90-day timeframe to act. Those who do not update their information must reapply for coverage.
Cori Racela -- an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services, which helped file the restraining order application -- said, "I think it's going to be a big shock when people get notices Thursday or Friday telling them they've been terminated," adding, "We don't believe it's OK to proceed with terminations until every beneficiary has the information about how to turn their benefits back on" ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 11/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.