CalFresh New Path to Medi-Cal Enrollment

by David Gorn

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Although the effort was just launched, the new "express lane" CalFresh program has shown instant results, according to Toby Douglas, director of the Department of Health Care Services.

"We recently started the CalFresh Express Lane enrollment program and in just in a week we've seen 10,000 people enroll in the program," Douglas said

Roughly 600,000 Californians who qualify for CalFresh also qualify for Medi-Cal but are not enrolled in it, according to state estimates. About 153,000 of those recipients are children. CalFresh is California's version of the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- or SNAP -- which has supplanted the federal food stamp program.

"We are extremely pleased with the strong reaction to this new streamlined method for enrolling in Medi-Cal coverage," said Norman Williams, deputy director of public affairs for DHCS, in a written statement. "We anticipate that around 600,000 people will take advantage of this simple way to get quality health care under Medi-Cal."

The new program lets those eligible Californians enroll without applying all over again. Beneficiaries just need to sign their permission to enroll in Medi-Cal. 

The program is a joint effort by the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Social Services. State officials held a webinar for stakeholders in December, and DHCS officials said will hold another webinar for certified application assisters and enrollment counselors on the program on Mar. 19.

Updated numbers on CalFresh enrollment are due out today, according to Williams. 


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