How Medi-Cal Continuous Coverage Protects California Kids

How Medi-Cal Continuous Coverage Protects California Kids

Making Medi-Cal Work for Families

Imagine being a parent to a 20-month-old and learning through a developmental screening that your toddler might have autism spectrum disorder. The pediatrician recommends a full diagnostic evaluation and early intervention services. But soon after that screening, you find out your child was dropped from health insurance coverage. While you work to re-enroll as quickly as possible, the process takes six months — during which time, your child cannot get any of the necessary follow-up care. And your distress is exacerbated!

As we witness California children losing coverage as Medi-Cal annual redeterminations start up again, TCP wanted to raise parent voices to speak to what are the very real impacts of gaps in health coverage on children and their families. We commissioned Lake Research Partners to conduct 10 focus groups with over 80 parents/guardians of children of color to share their experience with what it means to be without insurance coverage – even for a short period.

Listening to families themselves advances health equity by identifying how the process can work for them, not just for the system.

Learn more in our summary slide deck.

Advocacy for Implementation of Multi-Year Continuous Coverage in Medi-Cal

The Children’s Partnership and our partners for health equity have submitted multiples letters to California Governor Gavin Newsom to #KeepKidsCovered representing a diverse coalition of champions for young children through the Whole Child Equity Partnership and a coalition of child health advocates.

The letters are supported by state and local organizations requesting to fund and green-light implementation for continuous Medi-Cal coverage protection for young children in the Governor’s January 2024 budget.

TCP Brief on How Medi-Cal Continuous Coverage Protects California Children

A TCP brief, “Learning From the Pandemic: How Medi-Cal Continuous Coverage Protects California Kids,” calls attention to the positive impact that the continuous coverage provision has had in allowing millions of Californians to stay enrolled in Medi-Cal coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic and what is at stake for children and families when the protection ends in late March 2023.

The brief makes clear that the federal continuous coverage protection has:

  • significantly reduced coverage gaps for California children

  • protected access to care for children of color on Medi-Cal

  • served as a critical tool in improving Medi-Cal’s low preventive care rates

This brief also highlights recommendations to help the state minimize disruptions to children’s coverage, and urges DHCS to move forward with implementation of multiyear continuous Medi-Cal coverage for children ages 0-5.

One million CA kids are projected to lose their health coverage in the next year – mostly kids of color.

Here’s Why:
The federal continuous Medi-Cal coverage protection is ending March 31, 2023.
The Good News:
California has a new coverage policy that could protect children from losing coverage.
Why We Need to Take Action:
This policy is not slated to begin until 2025. This delay in implementation places thousands of children at risk of losing coverage unnecessarily.
How to Take Action:
Share this brief and ask the Governor to fund continuous coverage in the FY24-25 Budget.