Helpful Reports on Transitioning Undocumented Children to Medi-Cal

November 23, 2015

The implementation of SB 75, the bill that allows undocumented children to be enrolled in Medi-Cal, is a big step for California’s #Health4All campaign championed by many health care advocates in the State, but there are many logistical details that must be worked out in order to ensure a seamless transition for these kids. As a result, two recent reports have recently been published to help guide stakeholders involved in this much-anticipated transition.

First, the Blue Shield of California Foundation generously sponsored a report from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and UCLA Center for Health Policy and Research discussing the lessons learned from the Low Income Health Program (LIHP) transition. This paper provides an overview of the programs that children are currently enrolled in and the number of children enrolled in these programs. Topics that must be addressed for the SB 75 transition, as discussed in the paper include: eligibly, premium payments, plan and primary care provider assignment, communication and outreach, consent, continuity of care, special populations and late enrollees. The paper also provides helpful questions for stakeholders to discuss. All the issues are set in the context of how the LIHP transition maneuvered such issues or how the SB 75 transition will be different from the LIHP transition.

In this same vein of providing the right information to the right people, in a report funded by California Healthcare Foundation (CHCF), Major Transition with Minor Disruption: Moving undocumented children from Healthy Kids to full-scope Medi-Cal, specific recommendations for each stakeholder involved in this transition are provided. The stakeholders included are the county children’s health programs (CHIS), Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Medi-Cal Health Plans, county social service offices and funding institutions. To view a chart of stakeholders and their opportunities per the CHCF paper, click here.

In a meeting with the authors of these reports, the overall message that they wanted to stress is although we are rightly focused on logistical issues, it is important to keep in mind this transition is about getting the most vulnerable, of the most vulnerable health care coverage.

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