Many Calif. Homeless Not Taking Advantage of Medi-Cal Eligibility
Many homeless individuals in California who qualify for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act have been hesitant to use the coverage, instead turning to no-cost medical clinics, HealthyCal reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Renner, HealthyCal, 3/19).
Under the ACA's Medi-Cal expansion, 1.4 million California residents will be newly eligible for the program, including 53% of homeless individuals (California Healthline, 1/10).
However, many homeless individuals have either not signed up for Medi-Cal or do not use their Medi-Cal coverage because of:
- Discomfort in traditional medical settings;
- Lack of understanding about the Medi-Cal enrollment process;
- Uncertainty about whether they qualify for Medi-Cal; and
- Inability to provide needed paperwork.
In addition, Juan Villa, homeless health coordinator at Golden Valley Health Center in the Modesto area, said many homeless individuals require extra help enrolling in the program because they have mental health issues or they lack:
- Birth certificates;
- Driver's licenses; or
- Social Security cards.
Details on Outreach Efforts
To encourage more homeless individuals to enroll in Medi-Cal or other health coverage, clinics and county officials are:
- Sending mailers to homeless individuals who have mailing addresses; and
- Posting brochures and flyers about health care coverage in clinics that serve homeless individuals.
Some clinics also are authorized to help homeless individuals sign up for Medi-Cal coverage (HealthyCal, 3/19).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.