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Medi-Cal Expansion of Healthcare Coverage for Older Adults Now in Effect

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Regardless of immigration status, area residents 50+ years may be eligible for CenCal Health plan

CenCal Health, the community-accountable health plan on the Central Coast, announced that residents of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties who are 50 years of age or older may qualify for full scope Medi-Cal benefits, regardless of their immigration status. Effective May 1, 2022, this initiative is the result of a new law in California that expands eligibility for the state’s low-income health insurance to individuals who are 50 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Medi-Cal eligibility is determined by each county’s Department of Social Services, with health plan benefits for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties’ residents administered by CenCal Health.

“The pandemic provided a vivid picture of how underserved populations, including migrants and people of color, are at increased risk of experiencing adverse health challenges due to unequal access to care,” said CenCal Health CEO Marina Owen. “Through the expansion of Medi-Cal to more adults, CenCal Health can continue to proactively address the disparities affecting low-income Californians in our service area, regardless of their immigration status. As we well know, prioritizing the health of all residents benefits the entire community.”

Potential new enrollees include individuals 50 years of age or older who are otherwise eligible for Medi-Cal, but did not have the immigration status required for full scope Medi-Cal, (or were unable to verify citizenship), and are not yet enrolled in Medi-Cal. California residents 50 years of age or older who are currently enrolled in restricted scope Medi-Cal, which is often called “emergency Medi-Cal”, that covers limited services – emergency, pregnancy-related, and long-term care – may also now be eligible for expanded coverage. Existing Medi-Cal beneficiaries will be automatically transitioned to full scope eligibility and have access to more health care benefits.

Full scope Medi-Cal is the entire range of benefits available to beneficiaries and includes emergency care; medical care, tests, referrals to specialists, if needed, medicine and supplies; mental health care; alcohol and drug use treatment; personal attendant care and other services that help people stay out of nursing homes; transportation to doctor and dental visits and to get medicine at the pharmacy; family planning; foot care; hearing aids; vision care (eyeglasses); and dental care.

Qualified children and young adults up to 26 years of age – regardless of immigration status – have been eligible for full scope Medi-Cal since 2016 and 2020, respectively.

Residents can apply for Medi-Cal online, by mail, by fax or in person at their local county Department of Social Services, or by calling (844) 289-4682 (Santa Barbara County residents) or (805) 781-1600 (San Luis Obispo County residents). More information on how and where to apply is available on CenCal Health’s website at cencalhealth.org/howtoapply

More information about the state’s Older Adult Expansion of Medi-Cal can be found at www.dhcs.ca.gov .

About CenCal Health

CenCal Health is a community-accountable health plan that partners with over 1,500 local physicians, hospitals and other providers in delivering patient care to more than 210,000 members – about one in four residents of Santa Barbara County and one in five residents of San Luis Obispo County. A public agency, the health plan contributes approximately $50 million a month into the local economy, primarily through payments to healthcare providers who serve its membership. Established in 1983, it is the oldest managed care Medicaid plan of its kind in the nation. View its annual Community Report at cencal2021.org

Media Contact: Sheri Mobley (805) 845-5627, 213 509-9816 sheri@seamlesspr.com

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