Computer Glitches Cause Backlog of 800K Medi-Cal Applications

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About 800,000 California residents who applied for Medi-Cal coverage through the Affordable Care Act still are awaiting approval because of software glitches in a system designed to confirm their eligibility, according to the state Department of Health Care Services, the Los Angeles Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.

DHCS spokesperson Norman Williams said about 1.9 million residents are newly enrolled in Medi-Cal through the ACA.

Details of Delay

State officials say the backlog of Medi-Cal applications was caused by problems with a system that was supposed to link county and state computers to confirm applicants' eligibility for the program.

For example, officials in Los Angeles County said that more than 200,000 Medi-Cal applications filed during the first three months of open enrollment in 2013 were inaccessible until February because of the computer glitches. Even though the glitches have been fixed, workers at the county's Department of Public Social Services face a large backlog of applications.

Williams said the state "know[s] that there are problems to be resolved" and is "committed to doing better."

Implications

State residents whose Medi-Cal applications still are awaiting approval could be foregoing needed medical care or paying out-of-pocket for health care services, according to the Times.

Residents with pending applications have the option of requesting a temporary Medi-Cal card from county social services departments.

However, the Times notes that some providers might not accept patients who are awaiting Medi-Cal approval because of concerns about whether they will be reimbursed for the care (Brown, Los Angeles Times, 4/5).


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