L.A. County Insurance Program Enrolls 250K, Works on Outreach
A Los Angeles County program -- Healthy Way L.A. -- designed to help individuals obtain health coverage ahead of the state's Medi-Cal expansion next year has enrolled more than 250,000 residents so far and plans to increase outreach efforts, HealthyCal reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Shanafelt, HealthyCal, 8/28).
Under the Affordable Care Act, an expansion of Medi-Cal would affect individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $15,415 annually.
The federal government will fully fund the expansion for the first few years (California Healthline, 3/25).
Details of L.A. County Program
The program -- managed by the county's Department of Health Services -- allows patients to obtain certain no-cost services, including:
- Primary and specialty care;
- Emergency treatment;
- Mental health care; and
- Chronic disease management and medication.
Treatment is not offered outside of the county.
To be eligible for the program, residents must:
- Be between ages 19 and 64;
- Be permanent residents of the county for at least five years; and
- Earn less than 133% of the federal poverty level, or about $14,500 for an individual and $29,700 for a family of four (California Healthline, 10/11/11).
Increasing Enrollment Efforts
The program plans to enroll an additional 50,000 county residents by January 2014.
To reach the goal, Healthy Way L.A. has partnered with community groups to launch various outreach efforts.
Amy Luftig Viste -- director of community partner programs at DHS -- said program officials have found that "the most effective way to reach individuals is in their own communities and by groups and individuals trusted in their communities."
The program has partnered with We Care Enough To Act -- a not-for-profit group affiliated with the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers -- to educate "hard-to-reach" populations.
Kathy Ochoa -- project director at WCETA -- said the group is surveying targeted neighborhoods where individuals are likely to be uninsured and eligible for Healthy Way. WCETA has enrolled 1,000 residents in Healthy Way LA in the past four months.
Healthy Way LA also has partnered with One LA to host enrollment events, with about 100 individuals signing up for coverage during each event.
Edward Chavez -- an organizer with One LA -- said that if enrollment efforts are not successful in Los Angeles, they're "not going to work anyplace else" (HealthyCal, 8/28).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.