The Department of Health Care Services notified all county welfare directors in a letter dated July 31, 2017, that for eligibility determinations, same-sex married couples will be treated the same as opposite-sex married spouses. One of the significant changes is that county eligibility workers will no longer have to request verification of the same-sex marriage. They same-sex couple, regardless of which state they were married in, will just have to attest under penalty of perjury that they are legally married.
On March 3, 2017, Department of Health Care Services sent a letter to all County Medi-Cal administrators informing them of the new 2017 federal poverty levels. The new federal poverty levels went up approximately 2%. This means that individuals applying to Covered California will have to have a higher income if they want the Advance Premium Tax Credits subsidy. The single adult annual income amount to qualify for the Covered California subsidy is now $16,644. It was $16, 395 in 2016.
Guidance offered by Covered California to Certified Insurance Agents assisting consumers with enrollment into MAGI Medi-Cal
On or about August 17, 2016, a departing CalOptima employee downloaded data, which included protected health information, to an unencrypted USB flash drive. Shortly after, the departing employee returned the USB flash drive to CalOptima. While we are still investigating the contents of the flash drive, we do not believe the information was shared.
People who turn 65 and may have been receiving a hefty subsidy through Covered California to reduce their health insurance premium can be shocked at the costs of enrolling in Medicare. However, there are a variety of resources to assist Medicare beneficiaries to lower their health insurance and health care costs. Assistance from both Social Security and Medi-Cal may be an option for some Medicare beneficiaries depending on their household income.
Beginning in August, 2016, Covered California will send a notice to those consumers approaching or are over their 65th birthday who may be eligible for Medicare. The notice advises them that they may no longer be eligible for Advanced Premium Tax Credit or Covered California coverage. If the consumer receives the notice, it will be displayed in the online application (CalHEERS).
Covered California will be performing an update to their online application that will allow undocumented children to become eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits on May 16, 2016. Children under 19 years of age and whose household income is below 266% of the federal poverty level will not have to verify their immigration status. They will not have to provide proof of citizenship, lawful presence, or proof of immigration status in order to become eligible for Medi-Cal.
When a woman completes an Application for Coverage with Covered California and checks the box to indicate she is pregnant, she should be given the option to stay on a Covered California plan. Instead, the system is moving some women in low-income ranges to Medi-Cal.
Covered California has updated their income table for qualifying for either the premium assistance or Medi-Cal. The new income amounts reflect the modest increase to the federal poverty levels (FPL) which is the foundation for premium assistance. The new income amounts only apply to individuals and families who will apply for health insurance through Covered California for 2016. Households who renewed their coverage in 2015 or enrolled during open enrollment for 2016 are not affected by the higher income levels in most situations.
Covered California has updated their online application for 2016 open enrollment to automatically determine the eligibility of former foster youth and pregnancy coverage for Medi-Cal programs. In previous online versions the applicant was directed to the respective program for more information and final eligibility determination. In many situations the new Covered California enrollment website will help place the individual directly into the program they are eligible for.