KHN: As California Expands Medicaid To New Beneficiaries, Many Others Are Dropped
By Jenny Gold
When it comes to expanding health coverage to its poorest residents, California could be taking two steps forward and one step back.
Even as the state celebrates its enrollment of more than 2.7 million low-income Californians in Medi-Cal in 2014, it may drop an unusually high number of beneficiaries from its rolls by year’s end.
That is because Medicaid eligibility standards relating to income and household size changed under the Affordable Care Act, forcing the 8.6 million people who had been on the program before Jan. 1 to apply under the new rules. (Medi-Cal is California’s version of the federal Medicaid program.)
Beneficiaries always have to renew their coverage annually, and there is always some churn in enrollment as people’s circumstances change. But this year, the forms asked for a host of new information, and many more people than usual haven’t responded, according to state officials, county welfare directors and advocates.