Medi-Cal county eligibility workers continue to tamper with the estimated income of Covered California consumers. The result of these unauthorized adjustments to household income is families continue to get dumped into Medi-Cal with no warning. Covered California continues to allow these anonymous bureaucrats to make unauthorized income adjustments without notification to the member. These nameless and faceless bureaucrats, making sometimes life and death decisions about a families’ health insurance, are the embodiment of government power run amok that scared so many opponents of Obamacare.
Anonymous Medi-Cal workers change consumer income
It was a family in Southern California that alerted me that Medi-Cal continues to surreptitiously rummage around in the accounts of Covered California members. Without any notification, a county Medi-Cal eligibility worker lowered my client’s household income. This change is documented on the transaction history of their Covered California account. The L.A. county worker changes were logged under the user ID of System-LD-Los Angeles. My change to the client’s income occurred on November 29th, 2015, and my user ID is Agent.
Honest California family is called liars
My client’s household consists of two adults and a child. They work in the entertainment industry and can have variable income levels from year to year. This family is extremely honest and reported an income in 2015 that they knew would place their daughter in Medi-Cal and the parents in a private health plan with premium assistance. They actually have an incentive to inflate their income so their daughter can be included on the private family insurance because the daughter has some health challenges. But they knew they could not verify a higher income than was estimated for 2015.
They want to pay their fair share of health insurance costs
In 2016 they knew their household income would be increasing but they wouldn’t know by how much until the first quarter of the New Year. Because the Medi-Cal eligibility dollar amount had increased for 2016 they had me increase their income to just above 138% of the federal poverty level for the adults to maintain their private health insurance. Since they are paid a salary from their corporation, it would be easy to increase the income when the revenue increased. Because Covered California did not request proof of income for 2016, we all thought they were all set until we would increased their income later in the year.
Unauthorized database attack
On February 12th some Medi-Cal eligibility worker raided my client’s Covered California account and made a unilateral decision to nuke their income change of November 29. This put both parents and child into Medi-Cal and terminated their private plan with premium assistance as of the end of February. Covered California seems helpless and feckless to prevent this violation of consumer privacy.
Anonymous Medi-Cal eligibility worker strikes again!
I assume what Medi-Cal is doing is probably not illegal, only unethical. Somewhere, buried deep in some law authorizing Covered California, is probably the ability of county Medi-Cal eligibility workers to act like computer hackers and making unannounced and unauthorized account changes. All the consumer can learn is that some nameless and faceless anonymous bureaucrat tampered with their income estimate dumping them into Medi-Cal.
Who authorizes Medi-Cal to rummage through a consumers private information?
I have carefully read the terms and conditions of enrollment to each applicant I assist with Covered California health plans and I have never read that the consumer must agree to an anonymous bureaucrat poking around in their private information. I have never read that Medi-Cal eligibility workers on a whim, without the simple courtesy of giving notice, can just whack a family into Medi-Cal for sport or amusement. The change of income by this bureaucrat is essentially calling me and my client liars. Medi-Cal has determined we are liars for honestly ESTIMATING their 2016 income.
Cleaning up the damage done by Medi-Cal
The arbitrary and random income changes are similar to the actions of a tagger who vandalizes property when no one is looking under the cover of darkness. In this case, the vandalized and violated family must spend unexpected and unnecessary time down at the county social services offices proving their income or in a sense- cleaning the graffiti off their walls. Why should any individual or family be subject to government sanctioned ransom when all they have done is be honest on the application?
Does Medi-Cal likes to see suburban middle-class families beg?
I almost get the feeling that the county Medi-Cal offices gets a perverse sense of joy by making suburban families, who have never dealt with the county’s social services safety net, come down to their offices to prove their worth. These county eligibility workers who terrorize Covered California consumers with drone attacks on the family income are the judge, jury and executioner of their unsolicited opinions and analysis. And after the Medi-Cal eligibility worker releases their cluster bomb of havoc and destroys a family’s private health plan enrollment, the eligibility worker makes them come down and beg to be released from Medi-Cal.
Who can stop the autocratic Medi-Cal corp?
Covered California makes a big deal about the privacy and security of their online enrollment system. Then they let Medi-Cal eligibility workers root around their consumer data base like pigs in the forest. These unannounced Medi-Cal reviews need to stop. No bureaucrat should have the ability to change your life without first giving you the opportunity to properly verify the household income. These Medi-Cal eligibility works should be mandated to give at least two weeks’ notice before they hack into a Covered California account and start making changes. It is the autocratic actions of bureaucrats who evoke images of repressive regimes that sour regular Americans against the Affordable Care Act and its implementation.
Update March 5, 2016
As an agent, I can’t advocate on behalf of my clients to a county Medi-Cal office unless they designate me as an authorized representative. But my client was able to contact the Northeast Valley Health Corporation for assistance. They worked with a very knowledgeable individual at NEVHC that knew how to navigate the county Medi-Cal system and was able to reverse the income change. This removed the soft pause or unlocked the family’s Covered California account so I could re-enroll them in a health plan with premium assistance. We are crossing our fingers that Los Angeles County Medi-Cal doesn’t target them again, without warning, for a unilateral income change knocking them back into the Medi-Cal system.