More California counties set to expand coverage in January…

Over 35 California counties will be expanding health coverage to tens of thousands of Californians on January 1, under new federal approval granted yesterday.

Ten large urban counties had already launched health expansions in July 2011. Just-released data show that now over 225,000 Californians are enrolled in these county-based Low-Income Health Programs (LIHPs), which are matched by new federal funds under the Affordable Care Act, and the state’s new “bridge to reform” Medicaid waiver.

Now, the County Medical Services Program (CMSP), a consortia of 34 mostly rural counties, got federal approval to expand health care coverage to an additional 30,000 low income adults beginning January 1, 2012 under Path2Health. This coverage expansion will increase the number of low income adults served by CMSP to nearly 90,000 by the end of 2013.

These new county-based programs extend coverage to the uninsured using new federal matching funds, bringing dollars into local health systems and the California economy. These programs are a bridge to reform–helping our health system get ready for reform, linking uninsured people with a medical home, and helping every enrolled Californian get onto fully federally-funded coverage in January 2014.

With this CMSP announcement about Path2Health, now over 45 counties will have Low-Income Health Progams up and running on January 1, 2012. with most of the remaining counties going forward in early 2012. Potentially over a half-million Californians could get coverage through these LIHPs by 2014, when they are rolled into coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Path2Health will provide no-cost health coverage to adult Californians who reside in the 34 counties and are at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $10,890 annually for a single person.

Path2Health will provide coverage for medically necessary health care services, including primary care, emergency and hospital care, pharmacy services, and limited dental and vision care. It will also cover a set number of mental health and substance abuse counseling visits. Coverage will generally follow coverage provided under CMSP, a long-standing health coverage program serving indigent adults in the 34 counties. CMSP currently serves more than 60,000 low income adults each month.

Californians qualify for Path2Health if they are: a resident of one of the 34 counties Path2Health serves, have an income of up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, are between 19 and 64 years of age, do not qualify for Medi-Cal, and meet federal citizenship and documentation requirements. More information about Path2Health is available at

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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