California Medicaid Changes Will Affect Children's Coverage

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A plan byCalifornia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) that would require most Medi-Cal beneficiaries to complete eligibility forms four timesper year, rather than annually, will affect children the most and will not savethe state money in the long run, according to a report commissioned by the California Endowment, the SacramentoBee reports.Medi-Cal is the state's Medicaid program. Administration officials estimatethat the requirement will result in 122,000 people being dropped from Medi-Calin the next fiscal year, which would save the state $95 million.

According to the report, previous studies have found that up to two-thirds ofbeneficiaries who were dropped from the program for reasons related to missingor incomplete eligibility forms re-enrolled in the program within eight months.The report found this cost the state $120 to $160 to re-enroll each child.

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Gerry Fairbrother, author of the report and a researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, said, "The data clearly showthat a more frequent requirement would result in more children losing theirhealth coverage, which causes lapses in health care that result in highermedical service costs once the child is re-enrolled."

Stan Rosenstein, director of Medi-Cal, said that the report overstates thecosts of re-enrolling beneficiaries and that disenrollment "only occurs ifsomebody has to reapply and they haven't responded to two notices we sentthem" (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 4/17).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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