900,000 Californians Waiting for Medi-Cal Coverage Thanks to Website Defects
Problems with the Covered California website have forced nearly one million people to wait months to receive verification that they are covered.
The problem affects people covered by the state's expanded Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. In theory, those who signed up prior to the end of last year should be eligible to receive treatment starting January 1st. However, website problems mean there is a huge backlog of people waiting to have their enrollment status verified.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the problems with the state's $454 million website included "programming defects" which caused many applicants to be wrongly denied. In some cases, applicants didn't include complete documents needed to verify their eligibility. The result has been a long wait for some.
Melissa Young described her experience with the system to CBS 13 in Sacramento: "My son’s coverage has been in limbo since February. He has no case
worker yet, and every time I call, they say they have fixed the problem
and to wait until the first of the following month. Nothing is fixed and
I call again. Repeat."
Asked about the delays, California Department of Health Care Services spokesman Norman Williams told CBS 13, "We are devoting all the resources we can to make this work and to get them into coverage."
Under Obamacare, California expanded Medicaid to those earning up to 138% of the poverty line. Approximately 1.9 million people are believed to have signed up for the program since last October. The statewide total receiving the free medical care is now 9.4 million, approximately 25 percent of the state's population.