Now that you, your children or your entire family are now enrolled in Medi-Cal, the next challenge is finding a doctor. Virtually all of the Medi-Cal plans will be HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) where you will have to select a primary care physician (PCP). Your PCP will be your initial contact point for referrals to other health care services he or she may not be able to perform in their office.
Each County has different Medi-Cal HMO plans
Each County manages the different Medi-Cal plans offered in their region. Not all plans are offered in all counties. If you don’t know which plan you might choose, you can start looking for doctors and dentists through the Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Care Options provider search web page. This is an imperfect tool because it will list providers such as doctors and dentists outside of your county. But it should give you a good sense of the doctors and which Medi-Cal HMO you want to enroll with.
California Children’s Services Program
You can also go to the provider search tool for each of the HMO Medi-Cal plans in your County and search their database. Some of the plans will give you the option to search for physicians that are in the California Children’s Services (CSS) program. CSS contracts with doctors to provide additional diagnostic and treatment services for children with special or chronic medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, cerebral palsy, cancer and traumatic injuries.
Medi-Cal plan search
Some of the Medi-Cal plan websites are better than others. I routinely encountered broken links or was taken to irrelevant pages within the different Medi-Cal plan websites. The California Department of Health Care Services announced that it had transferred more than 630,000 beneficiaries from the state’s Low Income Health Program into Medi-Cal. In addition, Covered California reported that 108,000 residents were eligible for Medi-Cal through the new state health insurance exchange. This influx of new Medi-Cal members will surely lengthen the time it takes to secure a doctor’s appointment.
Other Medi-Cal Resources
Medi-Cal Managed Health Plan Providers by County