The COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) has fundamentally altered how California’s Medi-Cal program is administered. At the start of the pandemic, the state worked swiftly to seek waivers and other flexibilities of federal Medicaid requirements and to implement these COVID-19 flexibilities, including significant changes intended to streamline Medi-Cal eligibility and enrollment. In order to preserve Medi-Cal coverage for low-income Californians once the pandemic ends, California’s Medicaid agency, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), needs to plan now for its end. This issue brief highlights various policies the state put in place during the pandemic that should be continued after the pandemic, as well as other policies it needs to put in place now to mitigate harm to the Medi-Cal population once the pandemic is over.
This brief is part of NHeLP’s California Policy Needs During COVID and Beyond series. Additional entries include: