CSAC Bulletin Article

Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 and Medi-Cal Redeterminations

January 5, 2023

On Wednesday, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released a special update regarding the impacts of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (also referred to as the omnibus spending bill), which President Biden signed into law on December 29, 2022. This bill has broad implications for the Medi-Cal program and in particular the resumption of Medi-Cal redeterminations.

Previously, the resumption of Medi-Cal redeterminations was tied to the termination of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). With the passage of the federal bill, the continuous coverage requirements that paused all Medi-Cal redeterminations since March 2020 would be decoupled from the PHE termination date as of April 1, 2023, setting the stage for the resumption of Medi-Cal redeterminations.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will provide updated guidance to states this month on the passage of the legislation and implications for the Medicaid program. DHCS will update the Medi-Cal COVID-19 PHE Operational Unwinding Plan and additional plan, county and provider guidance once CMS releases updated guidance.  

With the continuous coverage requirement ending on March 31, DHCS will release updated policy guidance and provide technical assistance as local county offices complete and submit their County Continuous Coverage Unwinding Readiness Plans. Additionally, beginning in February 2023, DHCS will host weekly statewide support calls with local county offices to answer policy and operational questions related to unwinding work efforts.

The California Budget Act of 2022 appropriated $25 million to DHCS to seek a communications and advertising vendor to implement a broad and targeted education and outreach communications campaign for Medi-Cal members during the continuous coverage unwinding. The vendor will be responsible for implementing a statewide education and outreach communications campaign targeted to California’s over 15 million Medi-Cal members during the COVID-19 PHE and throughout the continuous coverage unwinding period. One of the goals of DHCS’ COVID-19 PHE continuous coverage unwinding outreach campaign is to maintain eligibility for Medi-Cal members by providing outreach materials that inform them about the steps necessary to maintain coverage after the continuous coverage requirement ends.

DHCS will also work closely with all Coverage Ambassadors to share newly developed outreach materials to Medi-Cal members across California. The DHCS Coverage Ambassadors are trusted messengers made up of diverse organizations that can reach members in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways. Individuals can join the DHCS Coverage Ambassador mailing list to receive the latest information and updated toolkits as they become available. For questions, please email Ambassadors@dhcs.ca.gov.

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