Will New Medi-Cal Number Top 13 Million?

On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is expected to unveil an up-to-date Medi-Cal beneficiary number when he issues his 2016-17 budget proposal.

That number likely will top 13 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

The official state figure is 12.8 million, as of September 2015.That figure represents about one-third of the state’s entire population, including more than half of the state’s children.

The state has seen a dramatic bump in Medi-Cal enrollment during Covered California’s open enrollment periods, the most recent of which started Nov. 1, 2015. Often people call Covered California for coverage and then find out they might qualify for Medi-Cal and are referred there, so the Medi-Cal ranks grow alongside Covered California. Roughly half a million Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal during the exchange’s second open enrollment period, from November 2014 to January 2015.

The current open enrollment period for Covered California runs through the end of January. So when the governor names a revised Medi-Cal number, even that higher estimate likely will continue to grow throughout January.

In addition, the Department of Health Care Services estimates about 170,000 undocumented children will be newly eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits as a result of implementing last year’s SB 75 and SB 4 by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

DHCS estimates 114,981 undocumented children currently get restricted-scope Medi-Cal benefits and would be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal under the new law, scheduled to go into effect May 1, 2016. Another 55,019 undocumented children currently are not enrolled in Medi-Cal and would be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal on May 1.

Related Topics

Capitol Desk Medi-Cal