California's Medicaid program seeks permission to stop mailing 2,546-page provider directory to beneficiaries

L.A. Care Health Plan, a Medicaid plan for Los Angeles County residents, and other California Medicaid managed care plans are seeking permission to halt automatic mailings of its provider directory to each enrollee, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The directory, which weighs more than 7 pounds and has 2,546 pages, comprises physicians' names, specialties, hours, addresses, phone numbers and languages spoken for thousands of physicians.

John Baackes, CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan, told Los Angeles Times the directory is "out of date the minute it comes off the press." As physicians repeatedly change their contact information and network status with insurers, L.A. Care Health Plan updates an online version of the directory daily. However, the plan is still required to mail printed directories.

Since the ACA expanded Medicaid in 2014, 5 million individuals joined Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. Each received a directory, costing health plans tens of millions of dollars, the report states.

In June, Mr. Baackes filed a proposal with Medi-Cal's operator — the California Department of Health Care Services — requesting L.A. Care Health Plan mail a postcard to enrollees containing a link to the online directories. The post card would also include an option to obtain a printed copy.

Other health plans, including Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Health Net and Long Beach, Calif.-based Molina Healthcare, are seeking ways to provide online directories instead of the printed versions. State officials said they are reviewing the plans' proposals, the report states. 

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