Officials Haven’t Provided a Timeline for Processing Medi-Cal Backlog
About 900,000 low-income California residents are still waiting for their Medi-Cal applications to be processed, but officials have not provided any estimate of how long it will take the state to process the backlog, Kaiser Health News/San Jose Mercury News reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Shen, Kaiser Health News/San Jose Mercury News, 6/28).
Background of Medi-Cal Backlog
Covered California and the state Department of Health Care Services are "playing catch-up" on Medi-Cal enrollment after choosing to focus on exchange enrollment ahead of Jan. 1, the kick-off date for both exchange coverage and Medi-Cal expansion.
A computer program designed to confirm Medi-Cal eligibility was supposed to launch on Oct. 1, 2013, but it was not available until Jan. 21. In addition, the computer program had several glitches after it was launched and it was missing features that were included in the exchange's enrollment program.
Many of the issues with the program have not yet been corrected (California Healthline, 5/5).
Lack of Details on Timeline for Processing Backlog
State officials said that about 50% of the Medi-Cal applications that have not been processed were filed in the past 45 days, which is the maximum amount of time the state has to process applications. According to KHN/Mercury News, "[l]ittle is known" about the remaining half of the applications and when they will be processed.
Meanwhile, the state health department has predicted that more than two million residents will enroll in Medi-Cal by next month -- about 300,000 more than previously expected. Residents can enroll in Medi-Cal year-round.
The delay in Medi-Cal coverage approvals is affecting the bottom line of many community health clinics, which rely on reimbursements from the program because they generally serve a high number of low-income and uninsured patients.
California Primary Care Association CEO Carmela Castellano-Garcia said, "We basically don't know if we're going to be receiving payment for the services we're providing" (Kaiser Health News/San Jose Mercury News, 6/28).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.