Stakeholders Tout Medi-Cal Eligibility for Former Inmates
Stakeholders are ramping up efforts to raise awareness about a state law (AB 720) that allows former inmates to enroll in Medi-Cal coverage, the Los Angeles Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The state Legislature passed AB 720 in 2013. The law allows county workers to help released prisoners enroll in Medi-Cal.
Supporters of the law said it could yield financial benefits for the state by reducing recidivism rates. Elizabeth Siggins -- with Californians for Safety and Justice, which sponsored the legislation -- said research has shown that a lack of access to health care can cause some former inmates to return to crime and eventually prison.
According to Siggins, the majority of California's counties are working to enroll former inmates in Medi-Cal.
For example, Sgt. Allan Lamonte of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said about 11,000 such applications have been submitted in the county, about 25% of which have been approved. He said, "We try to get the inmates as many benefits and services as we can before they leave, in the hopes that they won't come back."
However, Siggins said that awareness of the law is low among former inmates.
As a result, the Californians for Safety and Justice advocacy group has launched a statewide campaign, including advertisements at more than 100 bus stops in Los Angeles County, to boost awareness about Medi-Cal eligibility for former inmates (Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times, 11/16).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.