WAITING FOR HEALTH CARE
Although the Medi-Cal caseload has continued to grow, the funding for the program has been stagnant for decades. The result is that Medi-Cal providers have been asked to continue seeing their patients with rates that were last increased almost 25 years ago. Reimbursements have always lagged behind other programs such as Medicare and employer-based private health coverage, but the rising cost of inflation and growth in the program has become untenable for many practitioners. Patients on Medi-Cal are increasingly delaying care, waiting weeks or months for appointments, and traveling long distances to receive care.
Over the course of the last decade, California policymakers have expanded eligibility to the Medi-Cal program:
- 2014: The state opted into ACA Medi-Cal expansion
- 2016: Coverage expanded to all income-eligible residents up to age 18
- 2020: Coverage expanded to all residents 19-25 years old
- 2022: Coverage expanded to all residents over 50 years old
- 2024: Coverage will expand to all income-eligible residents, regardless of age or documentation status