County Acts to Add More Families to Medicaid Coverage

The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a plan to restructure agreements with its community clinics that allows the county to sign up more low-income residents for Medicaid coverage. Federal health care reform will not take effect until 2014, but under an agreement – known as the California 1115 Medicaid waiver – low-income residents not previously eligible for coverage can be enrolled as early as July 1 in this state. The county hopes to attract more Medicaid-insured patients to help pay for its network of public-private community medical clinics. Currently, only low-income families with children under 18, or low-income individuals who are pregnant, under 18, over 65, blind or disabled qualify for Medicaid. Under the new rules, single individuals making less than $14,484 – 133 percent of the federal poverty level – are eligible. The county will receive 50 percent matching federal funds, not subject to any maximum limit, for the cost of treating those patients, once they are enrolled. Currently, the county’s network of public-private community clinics, run by 54 different providers, serves nearly 800,000 patients each year, regardless of their ability to pay.

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