One of the major changes for Californians under the Affordable Care Act has been the expansion of eligibility for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. In fact, Medi-Cal now covers 1 in 3 Californians. The surprising thing about the program is how Medi-Cal saves lives and saves the state money. For one thing, just by having insurance, people are more likely to go to the doctor when a problem is manageable, rather than waiting for a crisis and going to the emergency room. Not only is it better for patients to be seen earlier, it’s less expensive than emergency treatment.
The California Health Insurance Program Helps Low-Income Residents
Another way that Medi-Cal saves lives while saving money is Hospital Presumptive Eligibility. This means that if an uninsured patient comes to a public hospital seeking treatment, he or she can be temporarily enrolled in Medi-Cal. This allows the patient to access full care while the application is processed. This is helpful in several ways. First, patients are able to get emergency treatment and also get follow-up care. Second, hospitals will be compensated under the California health insurance program. The program is largely responsible for the fact that the state now has only 7.1% of the population uninsured. Finally, once insured, patients are more likely to seek care with their regular doctor rather than the emergency room.