County officials worry renewal notices may confuse Healthcare exchange customers

This month the first renewal notices are being sent out  for those who received health-care coverage through Covered California. And that has some healthcare officials nervous.

The concerns is that some families who have members with coverage through both Medi-Cal and Covered California, will fail to distinguish between the two, and could fail to renew their coverage.

"Estimates are that there's about a 20% overlap, where parents are in Covered California and their children are eligible for Medi-Cal," said Rene Mollow in an interview with California Health Line. Mollow is the deputy director of health care benefits and eligibility at the Department of Health Care Services, which oversees the Medi-Cal program.

“Mollow said the department is a little concerned those parents might get the renewal notices from Covered California and figure they've also renewed their Medi-Cal eligibility, and that's not correct.

“While this renewal process is being targeted by Covered California, we want to make sure people understand that, for Medi-Cal, the renewals will be initiated by the counties," she said.

Thanks to expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, there are an estimated 11 million people currently enrolled in Medi-Cal. Many of them are being covered for the first time, thanks to expanded eligibility requirements passed under the federal law.

Those enrolled in the program need to renew their Medi-Cal coverage this year, as they need to do every year. That process is done at the county level.

Products purchased through Covered California, however, are private insurance projects brokered by the state’s healthcare exchange. That renewal paperwork is processed through Covered Caliofrnia, not the county.