California Healthline: Advocates, State Officials Wrangle Over California’s Medi-Cal Renewal Backlog

by David Gorn

onsumer advocates this week sent a letter to CMS asking for federal intervention in the struggle to eliminate a huge backlog in processing Medi-Cal renewal applications, primarily due to computer-related issues.

State officials said the backlog has been reduced to about 490,000 applications, down from a peak of about 900,000 in March.

Almost half a million pending applications is about half a million too many, given the 45-day federal deadline for processing applications, consumer health advocates said.

They want CMS to grant presumptive eligibility to all applicants who have waited longer than 45 days.

“I wouldn’t say [state officials] are trying to do a bad job at renewals to get people off Medi-Cal,” said Jen Flory, senior attorney in the Sacramento office of the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “But I do think there’s some financial driver at work here.”

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