Proof-of-Citizenship Policy for Medi-Cal Closer to Enforcement
At least 1.7 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries and all new applicants will have to provide proof of citizenship and identity to apply or re-enroll in the program, according to draft regulations recently finalized by California health officials, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The draft regulations are in compliance with a new federal law aimed at saving money by eliminating undocumented immigrants who lie about citizenship status for Medicaid enrollment. Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, provides health coverage to about 6.5 million California residents.
However, Congress in December 2006 exempted beneficiaries in foster care, on Medicare or on Social Security disability from the proof-of-citizenship requirements. About three million Medi-Cal beneficiaries fell into the exempted categories.
Stan Rosenstein, deputy director of medical care services for the Department of Health Services, said the state also has been able to exempt about half of the remaining 3.5 million enrollees by matching Medi-Cal data with birth records.
The remaining 1.7 million enrollees must provide citizenship and identification documents such as birth certificates, passports or driver's licenses.
The state's final draft regulations were sent last week to county social services agencies for public comment, which has a Thursday deadline. The state has not set a date for releasing the final regulations (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 2/17).