Report: Managed Care Transition Cumbersome for California Medicaid Seniors

California has completed a yearlong transition of moving 380,000 seniors and people with disabilities with Medicaid coverage from fee-for-service plans to managed care, but there were many speed bumps along the way, according to a report from the California HealthCare Foundation (pdf).

The Medi-Cal beneficiaries either voluntarily enrolled in managed care plans prior to this expansion, or the California Department of Health Care Services assigned a managed care provider to them. The California HealthCare Foundation conducted several interviews and surveys to analyze the effectiveness of the transition. Here are some of its findings:

•    Some beneficiaries had trouble understanding the complex written notices they received.

•    Providers that accepted new Medi-Cal seniors and disabled persons as patients said they did not receive patient-specific information in a timely fashion, and many of the managed care health plans had out-of-date contact information for several beneficiaries.

•    Some stakeholders said the managed care system "was not prepared" for the population, particularly in cases involving mental illness, homelessness and developmental disability.

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