Hundreds of Thousands Face Immediate Medi-Cal Termination due to State Failure

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As many as 200,000 Medi-Cal recipients will be shocked to learn they are losing their health care benefits at the end of this month. In Los Angeles County alone, close to 100,000 Medi-Cal families received or will receive termination notices. The notices will be the first of several waves of terminations by the state, which is moving to push people off Medi-Cal because they didn't complete renewal forms.

But many of those being terminated had no way of knowing they had to complete the forms, which the state for the first time this year failed to translate into the primary languages spoken by many Californians. The state’s renewal forms—already some of the most confusing in the nation—were incomprehensible to many recipients who were used to getting the forms in their language.

Over 40 percent of Medi-Cal beneficiaries identify a primary language other than English. “It’s a serious language access issue. The state is obligated to provide language access services to these communities,” said Doreena Wong, director of the Health Access Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. Some of the languages where translations are required by law include Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hmong, Cambodian, Arabic, and Farsi.

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