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Californians shocked to learn their Medi-Cal coverage expired

The California Department of Healthcare Services office in Sacramento
Wikimedia / Creative Commons
The California Department of Healthcare Services office in Sacramento

If you’ve experienced issues with your Medi-Cal coverage during a doctor visit this year, you’re not alone. Since June, over 930,000 Californians have been dis-enrolled from their low-income medical coverage.

Often, individuals were unaware that their coverage had ended until they sought medical treatment.

Every year, a tiny percentage of people do lose their Medi-Cal coverage because they’re no longer income qualified, according to the health policy research organization KFF. But this year, 15% of people up for renewal were kicked off for procedural reasons, meaning issues with paperwork or missing information.

The state paused its annual eligibility renewal process for Medi-Cal in 2020 to ensure people continued to get their medical coverage through the pandemic. Now after three years, the mandatory resubmission process has been restarted. And that might be a cause of the problem.

Several obstacles were cited as reasons for people losing their coverage, including: unclear instructions, long call wait times, limited access to translators, and lack of awareness.

If you or someone you know has lost their Medi-Cal insurance, there is a 90-day grace period to re-enroll and maintain coverage. Any missing information can be submitted at BenefitsCal.com.

Pat McMahon is a member of the 2024 KALW Audio Academy, an audio producer, sound artist, and radio enthusiast.