Sacramento County OKs Changes to Program for Medically Indigent
On Tuesday, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to remove residents from the County Medically Indigent Services Program next year if they are eligible to obtain coverage through Medi-Cal or the state health insurance exchange, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Branan, Sacramento Bee, 9/26).
Under the Affordable Care Act, a state expansion of Medi-Cal will allow individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $15,415 annually, to gain coverage.
The federal government will fund the expansion for the first few years, according to the ACA (California Healthline, 9/18).
The state health insurance exchange -- named Covered California -- primarily will serve individuals and small businesses. It is designed to function similarly to websites like Amazon and Expedia, allowing users to choose among various health plans through an easily navigable online store (California Healthline, 9/23).
Details of CMISP Plan
Sacramento County seeks to largely phase out CMISP as a way to save money and shift health care costs to state and federal governments.
Under the plan approved by county supervisors, CMISP participants will have a one-year grace period during which they still will be able to access county health care services even if they are eligible for other health care programs under the ACA.
After the grace period ends, the county will remove participants from CMISP regardless of whether they have enrolled in other programs.
County officials say that by April 1, 2014 they expect all but 700 of 14,000 CMISP participants to be enrolled in Medi-Cal or exchange plans.
The new policy blocks the removal of a CMISP participant who has a "hardship situation."
County officials are sending notices of the change to CMISP members.
Chris Andis -- county spokesperson -- said that since many of the program's participants are homeless, officials are sending the notices to a general post office box for the area's homeless.
Officials also are posting notices in several county government and health care facilities.Sherri Heller -- director of county HHS -- said, "We would expect the number (of people losing coverage) to be very low" (Sacramento Bee, 9/26). 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.