New Rules Allow More Than 700,000 Californians to Express Enroll in Medi-Cal

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2014
For More Information Contact:
Isobel White, (510) 828-3554/ Kristen Golden Testa, (415) 505-1332

Sacramento – More than 700,000 low-income Californians – including 153,000 children – can now enroll in health insurance without filling out an application. Under California's Express Lane Enrollment Project, based on new federal health reform rules, non-elderly adults and children currently enrolled in CalFresh automatically qualify for Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program for low-income individuals and families. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is reaching out to these individuals to guide them through the process of accessing health insurance.

"Families should be on the lookout for a letter from DHCS that will include a unique PIN number they will need to enroll," said Kristen Golden Testa, Director of the California Health Program for The Children's Partnership. "They'll have three ways to enroll in health insurance coverage – sign and return the enclosed form, call a toll-free number, or go online – no application or additional paperwork is needed."

In addition, those newly applying for CalFresh can check a box and be enrolled in Medi-Cal when they qualify for CalFresh.

"Our coalition applauds DHCS for their work on this and is working closely with the Department to ensure community enrollment counselors are prepared to help families take advantage of this new opportunity," said Suzie Shupe, Executive Director of California Coverage & Health Initiatives. "Enrollment counselors are key to families making sense of their health coverage options now more than ever, and these trusted communicators will be ready to answer questions and get families enrolled."

Health insurance coverage gives kids a healthy start in life, helps them hit important developmental milestones, and makes sure they enter school ready to learn each day. Coverage also helps parents miss fewer days of work to care for a sick child and shields families from the stress and fear of being one medical bill away from financial disaster.

"Express Lane Eligibility for children and adults in CalFresh will cut the paper work and complications faced by families that need health services the most," said Corey Timpson, Executive Director of PICO California. "However, it is important to note that DHCS will only send one letter to the targeted CalFresh adults and children, so families should watch their mail carefully for an envelope with DHCS' heart-shaped logo on it."

A copy of the letter and enrollment form is available online at: http://bit.ly/1cniJwE.

Enrollment Options:

1) Sign and return the letter using the enclosed form.

2) Call 1-844-212-0003 and reference the PIN on the letter.

3) Go to dhcs.ca.gov/ExpressLane and enter the PIN on the letter.

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The Children's Partnership (TCP) is a national, nonprofit child advocacy organization working to ensure that all children - especially those at risk of being left behind - have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives. TCP focuses particular attention on securing health coverage for uninsured children and ensuring that the opportunities of digital technology benefit all children and families.www.childrenspartnership.org

Children Now is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization working to raise children's well-being to the top of the state and national policy agenda. Children Now focuses on ensuring quality health care, a solid education and a positive media environment for all children.www.childrennow.org

Children's Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) is the California office of the Children's Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children's Defense Fund champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, a quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.www.cdfca.org

PICO California is the largest grassroots congregation-based community organizing network in California. Nineteen local California PICO federations organize in 73 cities and 35 school districts, reaching from Placer to San Diego County. Together, PICO federations represent 450,000 families of diverse economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds across the state. PICO California works to engage grassroots volunteers in our member congregations in efforts to improve policies affecting low income and working families around the state. PICO California is part of the PICO National Network, which includes organizations in 16 states.www.picocalifornia.org

California Coverage & Health Initiatives (CCHI), a leader in health advocacy for children and families, is a statewide association of outreach and enrollment organizations that are focused on helping children and families navigate into affordable health coverage and have access to high quality health care and other services. With firsthand experience and success enrolling children into public programs, such as Medi-Cal, as well as administering local Healthy Kids programs, the members of CCHI have shown that coverage for all children in California is a reachable goal.www.cchi4families.org

United Ways of California (UWCA) is the state association for California's local United Ways. UWCA works to improve the health, education and financial stability for low-income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of California's United Ways. UWCA is a strong advocate of expanding health coverage to all California children and their families. United Ways work closely with local community and business leaders, state and federal legislators, and volunteers to promote this achievable and important goal.www.unitedwaysca.org