September 9, 2015
Orange County began automatically enrolling low-income seniors and people with disabilities in a new health plan offering extra benefits, such as transportation to appointments. The three-year Cal MediConnect pilot program, run by CalOptima, is for “dual eligibles,” people covered by both Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Sara Lee, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, said they have received questions about opting out of the program and keeping their current care.
“I think a lot of education needs to go out regarding the continuity of care,” Lee said. “These beneficiaries tend to have the most severe health conditions and they probably have treatment or surgeries coming up. It may overwhelm them when they start hearing about the program and not knowing whether they can see their current provider.”
“We heard that especially in certain ethnic communities there’s been a lot of misinformation that’s been disseminated,” said Javier Sanchez, chief network officer for CalOptima. “For example, people are being told that they’re going to lose benefits, they’re going to lose their choice or their freedom, also that they’re going to have higher costs – none of which are true.”