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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Medi-Cal will expand its coverage so that no one is left without medical service

Medi-Cal will expand its coverage so that no one is left without medical service
Medi-Cal will expand its coverage, starting January 1, 2024, it will also be expanded to all undocumented immigrants, remembering that those under 26 years of age and those over 49 are eligible.

In an effort to ensure that no one is left without medical services, California authorities announced that Medi-Cal will expand its coverage, with options for all those who require it; In addition, starting January 1, 2024, the medical program will expand its coverage to include all undocumented immigrants, an effort that will help those who need it most.

Since the end of the COVID-19 health emergency in May 2022, Medi-Cal has resumed its annual redetermination service for enrollees, so this year a lot has been fought so that citizens do not lose their coverage, with the only requirement is to renew your data.

As of September 30, more than 15.2 million people were left without medical service, however, California remains stable as a state because, in September, around 1.7 million residents were pending renewal, said Yingjia Huang, Deputy Assistant Director of Health Benefits and Eligibility (DHCS), during a briefing held by Ethnic Media Services.

Yingjia Huang commented that Hispanic people represent the highest percentage of Medi-Cal enrollees, but they are also those with the highest percentage of withdrawals (53 percent), which may be due to the fact that they no longer need this coverage when obtaining company insurance. or for exceeding income limits since the pandemic, when eligibility checks were stopped.

However, the challenge remains, as many remain unaware of the process, or how to maintain their Medi-Cal coverage; added to the fact that, as of January 1, 2024, it will also be expanded to all undocumented immigrants, remembering that those under 26 years of age and those over 49 are eligible.

Michelle Retke, Chief of Managed Care Operations at the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), asked the community to pay more attention to the envelopes that arrive at their homes, as well as the phone calls that are being made and the Emails to Medi-Cal members to ensure they enroll in a managed care plan.

“Pay attention to your email; In October, November and December, you will receive a notice that your plan is changing, and an enrollment election packet that you can fill out on paper or online,” he added.

Retke explained that there will be changes in the plans starting January 1, 2024, as in other counties health insurance plans such as Kaiser or Anthem, which provide primary care from a network of local health centers, are moving to a model of single plan and not multiples, as before.

Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, professor of internal medicine at UC Davis and director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD), explained why outreach efforts are necessary to ensure that farmworkers receive care. healthcare they need.

“This is a tremendous need. Satisfying it requires more than good will and wanting to do the right thing. To reach these populations, generating trust is essential,” commented Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola.

Many undocumented Californians are agricultural workers, a population with which Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola has worked and which allowed him to learn more closely, specifying that in California there are approximately between 600 thousand and 700 thousand agricultural workers, the majority Mexican or Central American.

Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola commented that in the 1990s, in Fresco County they did a study of people of Mexican origin, including farm workers, to learn about their physical and mental health needs, including depression, anxiety or substance abuse, showing that almost half of them did not know where to go, or could not go to their appointments due to their work schedule.

The study illustrates an important challenge for the expansion of Medi-Cal, which instead of “hard to reach” populations, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola prefers to call “barely reached,” so it will be necessary to get the correct information to this group of people so that they can take advantage of the services.

Juan Ávila, director of operations for Garden Pathways, explained how the expansion of Medi-Cal will help people leaving prisons, by sharing his experience with youth and adults who have been released from prison and “involved in justice,” by serving some 400 to 500 a year through his organization that helps these people add to society by being part of it.

“If the people we work with want to join the workforce again, they have to be healthy, and provide that preventive care, also mental health, dental, substance abuse and more,” Ávila added.

He said he and his colleagues have built bonds of trust by going inside detention centers such as the county jail to enroll people in Medi-Cal before they are released into their communities, since when they leave they could be changing their address and would not have access to email notices.

For Ávila, it is important to bring this type of support closer to this sector of the community, since on their own they would not have the confidence or the initiative to go to the government sectors to seek it. 

Medi-Cal is expanding the possibilities of healthcare itself and that adds to many, “California now understands that healthcare involves services that have not traditionally been part of the old model of - go to the doctor, take your medicine, go home - "Health is quality of life, and good medical care addresses the barriers that combat it from its origin," concluded Juan Ávila.


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