Many Former California Welfare Recipients Lose Health Insurance, Report Finds
A new report released today by the California Budget Project found that thousands of California residents who have left the welfare rolls in recent years have lost their health insurance -- an "unintended consequence" of 1996 federal welfare reforms, the Contra Costa Times reports. According to the report, many California counties fail to inform residents who leave welfare that they may still qualify for Medi-Cal. Jean Ross, director of the California Budget Project, said that many former welfare recipients have moved into jobs that do not provide health insurance. "Counties have an opportunity here to provide health coverage to families, and many counties aren't taking full advantage of that," Ross said, adding, "Many counties have not been aggressive at getting people enrolled" in Medi-Cal. The report found that the number of California residents enrolled in both Medi-Cal and welfare programs dropped by 1.2 million between 1995 and 2000. About 85% of the decline "was made up or replaced by enrollment in other forms of Medi-Cal," the report found. Households with incomes below the federal poverty level, $14,630 for a family of three, qualify for Medi-Cal coverage (Chang, Contra Costa Times, 10/16). For more information on the report, contact the California Budget Project at 916-444-0500.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.