Medi-Cal Backlog Down Slightly; Officials Consider Temporary Fix
State officials say that the backlog of Medi-Cal applications has been reduced slightly to about 170,000 and that they are considering a new fix that could expedite the process, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Florido, "KPCC News," KPCC, 11/6).
About 2.2 million additional Californians signed up for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act's expansion of the program. A total of about 11 million state residents now are covered by the program.
In September, California Department of Health Care Services spokesperson Norman Williams said that about 350,000 applications for the program had not yet been processed as of Sept. 1 -- down from 900,000 backlogged applications earlier this year.
A coalition of advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court over the backlog, calling for the court to require DHCS to:
- Determine Medi-Cal eligibility within 45 days of submission;
- Notify applicants who are affected by the backlog that they can request a hearing on their application; and
- Provide benefits to eligible applicants while their applications are being processed (California Healthline, 9/18).
Last month, state senators raised concerns about the backlog and questioned Medi-Cal's readiness to handle the expected rush of new enrollees during Covered California's second open enrollment period (Gorn, California Healthline, 10/31).
Williams said officials are considering a new fix to speed up the process of clearing the backlog.
Specifically, he said the state may grant temporary Medi-Cal coverage to applicants younger than age 19 until a final decision is made on their applications.
It is unclear whether DHCS will adopt the plan, according to Williams.
About 25% of the 170,000 pending applications are duplicates waiting to be removed, while other applications are missing necessary documents like pay stubs, Williams said ("KPCC News," KPCC, 11/6).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.