State Health Officials Ask for 60-Day Extension of Current Medi-Cal Waiver
California's Department of Health Care Services is asking the federal government for a 60-day extension of the state's existing Medi-Cal waiver to allow state officials to continue bargaining over the terms of a new waiver, Payers & Providers reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
In a letter to CMS, DHCS Director David Maxwell-Jolly estimated that extending the current waiver would cost about $255 million (Payers & Providers, 8/26).
Public health officials in the state are seeking to renew the state's existing Section 1115 waiver to receive a $10 billion federal reimbursement for Medi-Cal.
The waiver comes from Section 1115 of the Social Security Act, which states that HHS can authorize states to pursue projects "intended to demonstrate and evaluate a policy or approach that has not been demonstrated on a widespread basis."
California's current waiver is set to end at the end of August (California Healthline, 8/16).
New Waiver Details
In the letter, Maxwell-Jolly said he expects to finalize the terms for a new, longer Medi-Cal waiver soon.
A new waiver could lower single adults' income requirements to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, which would expand Medi-Cal eligibility to about 500,000 additional residents.
Budget Impasse Delays Waiver
California's budget stalemate has prevented the Medi-Cal waiver from obtaining final approval, observers said. Federal and state officials have been negotiating the new waiver for about one year.
Despite the delays, a DCHS spokesperson said he expects CMS to approve the 60-day waiver extension (Payers & Providers, 8/26). ÂThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.