Survey: Most Calif. Counties Helping Inmates Enroll in Health Plans
The majority of California counties have begun enrolling inmates and individuals on probation in health coverage, according to a recent survey by Californians for Safety and Justice, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 9/8).
This year, California prisons have been working to help inmates register for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, and other health care plans before they are released from prison. Most of the nearly 40,000 individuals paroled each year are eligible for low-cost or no-cost health care plans.
Advocates say that increasing former inmates' access to doctors, mental health care and substance use treatment could help to keep them from returning to jail (California Healthline, 7/7).
Details of Survey
For the survey, CSJ polled 44 counties that make up more than 96% of the population in California.
Overall, the survey found that:
- 75% of counties already help inmates and individuals on probation sign up for coverage; and
- 25% of counties plan to begin providing enrollment assistance to such individuals in 2014 or 2015 (CSJ release, 9/8).
Efforts to enroll inmates and individuals on probation are funded by:
- Public safety realignment funding from AB 109, used by 70% of counties in the survey;
- Administrative funding through Medi-Cal, used by 64% of counties;
- Medi-Cal outreach and enrollment grant funding under AB 82, used by 27% of counties;
- County-based Medicaid administrative activities funds, used by 27% of counties;
- County general funds, used by 18% of counties; and
- Funding from Covered California's in-person assistance program, used by 12% of counties (CSJ survey, September 2014)