DHCS is reminding county workers to assist MAGI Medi-Cal beneficiaries to get immediate health coverage when they are being discontinued from Medi-Cal and transitioning into Covered California during a special enrollment period. Workers must assess individuals for non-MAGI programs first. If the beneficiary chooses not to be evaluated or selects something else, that beneficiary will get a MAGI termination notice.
Discontinuance of MAGI Medi-Cal is a qualifying life event for a Covered California SEP, after which individuals can enroll into Covered California for up to 60 days. While most SEPs are subject to the 15th day of the month rule to determine start date of coverage, there are exceptions:
- Loss of MEC: Can be reported up to 60 days before and after the life event date. The start date of Covered California coverage can be as early as the first of the month following the month in which MEC is discontinued as long as the beneficiary selects a plan and pays the premium timely.
- Marriage/domestic partnership: Plan coverage can start on the first day of the next month after plan selection and payment regardless of when the individual makes the plan selection during that month.
- Birth/adoption/foster care: Plan coverage can start on the date of birth of the child, adoption, or placement of foster care child, or the first of the month following the event.
- Other less common exceptions as listed in 10 CCR 6504(h)
County workers shall assist beneficiaries with the Covered California enrollment process and advise on the need for timely health plan selection and premium payment to avoid a gap in coverage. For Medi-Cal beneficiaries, this means selecting a plan in the same month as Medi-Cal discontinuance to have their plan start the following month. Workers may also direct individuals to certified enrollment counselors if they are unready to select a plan.
Those with Medi-Cal share of cost coverage may qualify for an SEP if they meet their share of cost in one of the past two months and have not received an SOC SEP consideration in the calendar year. The county must determine whether the beneficiary has met the criteria for any SEP reason, including loss of medically needy coverage.
DHCS ACWDL 16-18 (7/22/16) also includes a service center task guide on SEPs.