SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Advocates have filed suit against the state, saying hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians are being denied medical care because of a huge backlog of Medi-Cal applications.
Medi-Cal is the state’s version of Medicare, and California is required by law to process applications within 45 days. But, health advocates said applicants are currently waiting between three and seven months to learn if they’ve been accepted into the program.
Right now, the state has a backlog of 350,000 Medi-Cal applications. That’s leaving some to forego care, or go to emergency rooms in search of care.
A coalition of legal groups is now suing the State of California, trying to force the state to speed the process up. The suit also charges that at least one Californian has died while waiting for his application to be processed.
The backlog started building earlier this year when a flood of new people came in the Medi-Cal system through Covered California, the state’s new insurance exchange.
The state isn’t commenting on the lawsuit. A spokesman for the health care services department said people who need assistance with their application should go to their county’s social service agency.