KPCC: Tens of thousands still waiting for Medi-Cal coverage

Adrian Florido

About 170,000 applications for Medi-Cal have been pending longer than 45 days, the amount of time the state is legally allowed to process applications. Some people have been waiting more than a year for coverage. JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES 

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State officials have been working for months to clear a backlog of Medi-Cal applications that at one point stood at close to one million. They’ve made progress, but about 170,000 applications remain.

State and federal law require the state to process Medi-Cal applications within 45 days, but all of the remaining applications have been sitting around longer than that. In fact, most have been waiting six months or more to be processed. Some low-income Californians have been waiting more than a year for a decision on their health coverage.

In an email, California Department of Healthcare Services spokesman Norman Williams said the agency is working hard to clear the backlog. In late September, it stood at about 250,000 applications, he said.

Williams estimated that about one quarter of the remaining 170,000 applications are duplicates that have to be removed from the system, while some are missing required documents such as pay stubs.

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