Affordable Care Act: How to apply for Medi-Cal

October 4, 2013 8:28:11 AM PDT
Enrollment is open for medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act. People can now use the state-run exchange Covered California to buy health insurance.

Hundreds of people have come into Heritage Intake with questions about the Affordable Care Act and how to apply for Medi-Cal. Under healthcare reform Medi-Cal has expanded. Sanja Bugay is deputy director for Fresno County's Department Of Social Services. She said 45,000 more people in the county now qualify for Medi-Cal.

"Now we're looking at what they're eligible for because if they're not eligible for Medi-Cal we can evaluate them for subsidized insurance," Bugay said.

Under the expanded Medi-Cal program individuals making less than $15,900 a year now qualify for Medi-Cal. So does a family of four making less than $32,499.

"Full scope Medi-Cal really covers everything, covers hospitalization, seeing a doctor or specialty care," Bugay said.

While most still come to offices to apply for Medi-Cal Bugay would like to see more people apply on-line

"They can apply through our offices through My Benefits Cal Win or they can apply through Covered California," Bugay said.

Clinica Sierra Vista offers healthcare for migrant farmworkers, 22 operators at the non-profit call center field 15,000 calls a day. Operators at Clinica Sierra Vista can answer questions about Medi-Cal if individuals cannot get through to Covered California.

"When people call they can actually give us the family scenario on the phone and we can give them a ballpark idea of whether or not they'll be eligible," Deputy Chief Kevin Hamilton said.

Hamilton says the subsidized insurance plans offer bronze, silver, gold and platinum options. He expects the Silver Option to be popular for those who don't qualify for Medi-Cal.

"It's a very similar plan to the plan that if you were employed you would have access to and I think that's the key here. Many of these people are not employed," Hamilton said.

Individuals making under $27,000 and a family of four making less than $55,000 would qualify for the plan, which Hamilton says costs about $300 a month.


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