Enforcing Proof-of-Citizenship Rules Will Come Down to Counties
It will be up to counties to help some Medi-Cal beneficiaries and new applicants for the program obtain documents that verify their U.S. citizenship in compliance with new federal rules, the Sacramento Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 2/25).
Under the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, individuals who seek care through Medicaid must provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, passport or other form of identification. The law seeks to ensure that undocumented immigrants, who do not qualify for Medicaid, do not receive care through the program (California Healthline, 9/20/06).
California has delayed full compliance with the law while it works to minimize the possibility of disrupting coverage for beneficiaries.
The Department of Health Services has reprogrammed its computer system to match Medi-Cal enrollment information with state databases of birth certificates, a step that has eliminated the need for millions of California's Medicaid beneficiaries to produce documentation of their citizenship to keep their benefits. People dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare are exempt from the requirement, as are some foster children and beneficiaries who receive cash assistance for the elderly or disabled.
About 1.8 million beneficiaries still will need to produce the documents.
Stan Rosenstein, who oversees Medi-Cal for DHS, said the state plans to distribute detailed instructions to implement the federal rules in counties in the next few weeks (Sacramento Bee, 2/25).