Due to the recent California budget cuts, the Healthy Families may be seeing an untimely end. Cuts to the program will force more than 850,000 kids into HMOs that participate in Medi-Cal according to the LA Times. Currently, Healthy Families provides coverage to families who are not eligible for Medi-Cal and cannot afford the expenses of private coverage. Medi-Cal is offered to families living below the federal poverty line earning $19,000 for a family of three. Healthy Families program is more expensive to fund for the state because it offers doctors, hospitals, and dentists much higher rates than Medi-Cal.
Governor Jerry Brown states that despite the success of the Healthy Families Program, the switch to Medi-Cal will potentially save the state $13 million during the first half of 2013. Medi-Cal offers families certain coverages not provided in the Healthy Families program as well as a lower co pay and premium. However, many of the advocates for the Healthy Families program claim that the ease of access to doctors is challenged through Medi-Cal since many of the providers are out of the county making it difficult for low income families to get their children to the doctors.
The shift of Healthy Families to Medi-Cal will occur in 4 phases. The Brown administration wants to make the switch as fast as possible to ensure that children in need of health care continue to have their coverage while the state maximizes its potential savings. For more information on the effects on the end of the Healthy Families program, click here.