Several people have contacted us who have had their Medi-Cal coverage erroneously terminated because of receiving the emergency economic assistance of $600/week via the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This is a mistake. The extra $600/week assistance is NOT to be counted as income and should not cause someone to loose their Medi-Cal coverage. This specific guidance on stimulus payments and emergency assistance from the CARES Act is clearly stated in an All County Letter from California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on April 27, 2020: https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/eligibility/letters/Documents/c20-09.pdf.
In addition, these erroneous terminations, of which we’ve learned have happened to over 200,000 people statewide, go against the moratorium on negative Medi-Cal actions that Governor Newsom issued via an executive order in early March. The moratorium barrs negative Medi-Cal actions, such as annual redeterminations and discontinuances, during the COVID-19 emergency. California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) issued updated guidance to county eligibility offices to keep this moratorium in place for the period of the public health emergency. Since March, county eligibility offices should have been pausing negative actions while continuing to process new applications, intercounty transfers, additional individuals, decreases in income, and prioritizing the 90-day cure period restorations.
If you have had your Medi-Cal erroneously terminated, contact your Medi-Cal worker directly and share this article and the All County Letter links. You can also contact our partners at Health Consumer Alliance for assistance.
If you work with clients affected by these improper Medi-Cal terminations, please report these cases to your local county health services department AND to DHCS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to not share client-identifying information, but ask DHCS to send an encrypted email back to you so you can share the specific confidential information. You can also report cases to our partners at Justice in Aging and Western Center on Law and Poverty.