CANHR: Changing California’s Medi-Cal Recovery System: SB 1124 (Hernandez)

From our colleagues at CANHR: 

SB 1124 (Hernandez) was introduced on Thursday, March 27, 2014 – no bells and whistles rang out, but they should have.  SB 1124, co-sponsored by CANHR and Western Center on Law and Poverty, includes the most important Medi-Cal Recovery changes since 1993, when the current law was passed via Governor Wilson’s budget proposal. The new language is now in print (see http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_1101-1150/sb_1124_bill_20140326_amended_sen_v98.pdf). 

Many poor Californians are afraid to enroll in the Medi-Cal Expansion for fear of losing their homes to the Medi-Cal Recovery Program.  SB 1124 would address this barrier to enrollment by eliminating most of the optional recovery provisions and allow thousands of older, low-income Medi-Cal beneficiaries to be relieved of the worry about losing their family homes. SB 1124:

•       Limits recovery for those 55+ to what is required by federal law – e.g. nursing facility, home and community based services and related hospital and prescription drug services – eliminates optional recovery; 

•       Eliminates recovery from the estate of a surviving spouse of a deceased Medi-Cal beneficiary;

•       Restricts recovery amount to benefits paid for services actually received or capitated monthly rate, whichever is less; 

•       Requires DHCS to provide claims detail information free of charge to Medi-Cal beneficiaries or their representatives via phone, internet, mail, in person or other means, and requires the Department to post information on their web site the methods by which a consumer or his/her representative can request claims detail information.

Attached please find a fact sheet on this bill and a sample support letter. The first hearing on SB 1124 is tentatively set for April 9 in the Senate Health Committee – send letters of support by Wednesday April 2nd, to Senator Ed Hernandez, Chair, Senate Health Committee via FAX: (916) 324-0384.  Please email or fax me a copy of your letter (contact info below).

We’ll keep you up to date on the status, or go to www.leginfo.ca.gov to follow the status of this important bill.

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