State Begins Verifying Citizenship for Medi-Cal
The state on Tuesday notified county Medi-Cal offices that they must begin verifying the citizenship of Medi-Cal applicants in order to comply with the 2006 federal Budget Deficit Reduction Act, the Fresno Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The proof-of-citizenship requirement will affect about 3.5 million of the 6.7 million people in California who receive health benefits. The elderly, those who receive Supplemental Social Security and foster children are exempt from the rule.
An electronic database of birth certificates will be used to verify the new applicants and those completing their annual reapplications. No one will lose their benefits without having enough time to provide sufficient verification, such as birth certificates, passports or other identifying documents, county and state Medi-Cal officials said.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) earmarked $50.4 million in his 2007-08 fiscal year budget to cover the costs and maintenance of the verification process, Stan Rosenstein, deputy director of medical care services, said.
Schwarzenegger on Tuesday also sent a letter to Congress requesting that citizenship verification be a state option, Rosenstein said.
According to the Bee, California hopes to limit the number of people who lose their Medi-Cal enrollment as some states that already are complying with the citizenship requirement have seen a decline in Medicaid enrollment (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 6/7).