CHA Expresses Concerns on Proposed Changes in “Share of Cost” Terminology

share of cost, woman with concerned look on face

California Health Advocates joined California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) in submitting a letter along with 28 other advocacy organizations throughout the state expressing concerns regarding the Department of Health Care Services’ proposed changes to Medi-Cal’s “share of cost” terminology. DHCS proposes to change the term to “patient liability,” for individuals in Medi-Cal Long Term Care, and “spend down of excess income,” for individuals in the Medically Needy program.

We feel these new proposed terms are unacceptable. The current terms of “Share of Cost” can already be confusing, and these proposed terminology changes are not only more confusing, they also contain negative connotations that could discourage people from even enrolling into Medi-Cal.

“Share of Cost” has been used for decades, is a term that beneficiaries have become accustomed to, and is used throughout the healthcare system. While we agree that it is time to come up with a better way to describe this concept, the current proposed language is not just confusing, it will make things worse. We encourage DHCS to engage with advocates and readability experts to come up with plain language alternatives that make sense. This would ensure consistency with the Department’s commitment to improving Medi-Cal readability broadly through its “Medi-Cal Communications Project” and related efforts.

For more details, read the full letter.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.