By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
June 13, 2014
LOS ANGELES – In the coming months, changes to California’s health plan system will affect some 200,000 residents whether they know it or not.
For 67-year-old Anacleto Mendoza, who takes several medications to keep healthy, but after receiving a confusing packet about a month ago, his regular doctor visits were no loner routine. He explained that the new system is confusing, as his lab work benefits have been removed, and will have to wait three months to see what happens.
California’s health department has been rolling out the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI). The CCI would affect what the health department labels as “dual eligibles”; people that qualify for both government run MediCal and MediCare programs
The CCI will take affect in 8 California counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.
The program which is already going through a pilot program officially begins in Los Angeles on July 1.
“It has a couple of key goals, one to improve the coordination of Medicare and Medical services for persons who participate in the demonstration, to enhance the quality of care and improve healthcare outcomes for these individuals and then lastly to reduce healthcare costs to the MediCare/MediCal programs so you see less cost that the state is recurring and the federal government is incurring as well,” explained executive director Aileen Harper from Center for Health Care Rights.
The so-called dual eligibles will receive these blue envelopes from the health department and they would have to select from three main options; a Cal Medi-Connect plan that coordinates medical and MediCare; or, a Medi-Cal plan or PACE, which stands for the Program of all All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.
“It is critically important that you choose an option whether it’s just a Medi-Cal plan, or it’s a PACE plan of has a Cal-Medi Connect plan because you want your healthcare choice to be your own. You don’t want the state making that decision for you,” emphasized Attorney Amber Cutler of the National Senior Citizens Law Center
Despite some of the early confusion senior and health care advocates have seen positive steps in the pilot program and are expecting some user friendly changes are on the way.
You can contact Steve Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.