San Diego County Board Weighs Expansion of Health Care Safety Net
At its meeting today, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider a proposal to expand the County Medical Services program in response to ongoing litigation that the program's eligibility requirements are too restrictive, the San Diego Union Tribune reports.
The proposal would increase monthly income eligibility limits for a single person from $1,404 to $2,978. For a two-person household, income eligibility limits would rise to $3,993 from $1,882 under the previous guidelines.
Single county residents whose monthly incomes exceed $1,404 would have to apply for hardship waivers, establishing that they are ineligible for other government health care programs and that they cannot afford private coverage.
The program would be open only to county residents with less than $2,000 in liquid assets.
Under the proposal, program participants likely would have to contribute toward monthly medical expenses, although the plan does eliminate copayments that Superior Court Judge Ronald Styn criticized in a March ruling.
The proposal calls for enrollees to agree to repay the county at some point for services received through the program.
If approved, the expansion would take effect on July 1.
The board's agenda indicates that the program would cost an additional $4 million annually for each additional 1,000 county residents who enroll. The program currently costs the county about $69 million annually.
The proposal on the agenda states, "Other programs will be delayed or not implemented as a result" of the proposed expansion.
County officials did not specify which programs would be affected by the expansion (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/13).