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CenCal Health Medi-Cal Enrollment Far Surpasses Expectations in Santa Barbara County

The Affordable Care Act took full effect in numerous ways in January. For CenCal Health, by far the biggest impact of the ACA is the expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Since January, CenCal Health has added over 34,000 new members in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties to its Medi-Cal plan. Over the course of nine months (January through September), CenCal Health enrollment numbers have soared, reaching membership numbers that were projected to take 18 months to reach.

CenCal Health currently covers nearly 145,000 members, with approximately 97,000 members in Santa Barbara County and nearly 48,000 members in San Luis Obispo County (figures reported Sept. 30). Almost 20 percent of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties’ population is covered by CenCal Health; statewide, 30 percent of the population is covered by Medi-Cal.

Santa Barbara County has added more than 20,000 new members, of which 13,200 are attributed to ACA expansion. In San Luis Obispo County, over 14,000 total new members have been added since January. Of those, 10,150 can be attributed to the ACA expansion.

“We far surpassed our expectation in the increased number of members through the expansion of the Affordable Care Act,” said Bob Freeman, CenCal Health CEO. “We think at the end of the day the Medi-Cal expansion will provide substantial assistance to individuals and families in our community who have little or no access to health care today. These new members now have a ‘medical home.’”

In Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, many agencies are assisting individuals and families in obtaining coverage/insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Once these individuals become enrolled in CenCal Health, the plan reaches out to them in several ways. New members are given assistance to help them to select a primary care physician, arrange for interpreter services if needed, solve problems, and help members navigate their new health plan, amongst many other services.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing CenCal Health.


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