SACRAMENTO, CA - January 1, California will begin transitioning nearly 900,000 low-income kids from its Healthy Families insurance program to Medi-Cal.
Healthy Families was eliminated in the latest state budget.
Health care officials and child advocacy groups are worried that there won't be enough doctors to serve all of the new kids coming into Medi-Cal, so they 're calling on the state to carefully monitor the transition.
"We have concerns because of the monumental size of this task," said Autumn Ogden policy analyst for California coverage and health initiatives.
The state has sent out letters of notification to affected families that their coverage will be changing. Families are also supposed to receive new ID cards and Medi-Cal welcome letters.
Ogden's coalition and Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, have asked the state to slow down the transition but the plan is going forward as scheduled, though it still needs federal approval. Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley has said that children won't be moved until officials are sure they'll receive adequate health care.
Ogden advised families who have problems with their coverage to contact the Healthy Families program, the Department of Health Care Services or their health plan.
"Unless otherwise notified, they will maintain coverage with their current doctor," Ogden said. "There will be some families that do need to change and they will be receiving notification through the health plan that they will be changing their doctor and it is my understanding that they should also be receiving notification from their doctor if there's some need to change physicians and my understanding also that the state and the health plans will help them locate new physicians.
CTNS (Capitol Television News Service)