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Californian Low Income Health Insurance

MediCal

While subject to government funding alterations, MediCal is the Californian equivalent of the Federal government’s Medicaid health program, and is targeted to provide affordable health insurance and care to low income individuals, seniors, the disabled and low income families with children.

Financed equally by Federal and State governments, and subject to predetermined criteria for eligibility, MediCal has been providing health care at no cost to low income families since 1966.

If a family’s income is less than 250% of the federal income guideline, depending on certain other criteria, families with children under 19 years of age are able to receive Californian low cost health insurance, dental, and vision insurance coverage to cover uninsured children in working families, within the Californian governments Healthy Families program.

Currently there is no waiting list or shortfall in funding, but public spending priorities may change in the future and contingencies for waiting lists may need to be apprehended as possible.

The Access for Infants and Mothers program is also a Californian public health initiative that provides low cost health cover for pregnant women. Particularly for those families ineligible for MediCal, the AIM program offers assistance to families who either don’t have any health insurance or who have health insurance with a deductible or copayment of more than $500. The infant is automatically eligible for cover under the Healthy Families program.

Medicare For those citizens 65 years of age or older, or for those younger with certain disabilities, the Medicare program of public health care may provide much needed Californian low income health insurance. While primarily at the discretion of individual states, federal funding for Medicare invariably covers a fundamental range of health care services, but an individual is able to combine a private health insurance policy to cover any health services not covered by Medicare.

Benefit is provided in two parts, with Part A affording basic hospital insurance covering hospital care, extended care, home care services and hospice care. Part B is a voluntary medical insurance program to cover doctor’s fees and outpatient services as well as prescription drugs.

The issuing of discount cards to beneficiaries of Medicare enables them to purchase a card for a small fee of $30 and receive large government subsidized discounts on prescription medicines. Also, if they purchase a private health insurance plan to cover prescription drugs, the beneficiary is entitled to further subsidy.

In addition to these Medicare benefits, the eligible individual is able to participate in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program or the Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary program, and receive further assistance in paying insurance premiums, or costs to meet deductibles of a private insurance policy.

An extremely sobering feature of today’s Californian health system is that many children, particularly those of low income families, are being deprived of proper health care due to the lack of insurance. Public programs such as MedCal and Healthy Families have been noted as positively addressing this problem, but due to funding restrictions cannot be expected to provide full cover to every Californian child.

A further anomalous principle exists in the finding that the children of low income working families are far worse off in terms of health care, than the children of low income families whose parents do not work. Presumably this is due to the later group’s enrolment and qualification in public health programs, but it does certainly exhibit a form of inequity that can hardly be tolerable in California today.

 

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