Here’s what new healthcare guidelines, benefits in 2020 mean for Long Beach residents

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The Long Beach Health and Human Services Department released a memo to the city council on Monday detailing Covered California and Medi-Cal healthcare services deadlines and new guidelines, which will go into effect starting 2020.

According to Health and Human service, the following changes to the state’s healthcare will go into effect January 2020:

• Undocumented young adults ages 19 through 26, regardless of immigration status, may be eligible for Full-Scope Medi-Cal, however they must still meet the income guideline. The limit is $1,436 per month gross for a household of 1, and the limits increase as the household size increases.

• Medi-Cal income limits for persons age 65 and older will increase from 100% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 138% FPL, making more seniors eligible for Medical. The FPL increase potentially allows for more participation because of the greater income limitation. Eligibility limits will increase from $1,271 to $1,436 per-month for a single adult senior.

• Medi-Cal will restore vision benefits for adults. Currently, Medi-Cal only covers vision exams and glasses for children up to age 19. These benefits were cut in 2009 due to the Great Recession.

• Podiatry services also will return as a Medi-Cal benefit, which directly impacts persons diagnosed with diabetes. Covered CA will provide subsidies to those earning 400% to 600% FPL. This new provision will make health coverage affordable for more Californians and Long Beach residents. Individuals earning up to $74,940 annually may be eligible for financial assistance to bring down the cost of their health coverage.

• California will implement an Individual Mandate starting January 2020. Those without health coverage for 2020 are at risk of facing a tax penalty from the California Franchise Tax Board in 2021. Penalties are $695 per-adult, $347.50 per-child, or 2.5% of annual household income, whichever is greater.

Open enrollment for Covered California began earlier this month on Oct. 15 and will continue through Jan. 31, 2020. Medi-Cal enrollment is open all year long. To ensure Covered CA healthcare coverage begins by Jan. 1, 2020, applicants must submit an application by Dec. 15, 2019, according to the memo.

Folks can reach out to Health and Human services for help setting up healthcare coverage. Residents can contact the Health Access Program at (562) 570-7979 for assistance with both Covered California and Medi-Cal insurance applications. Assistance is also provided in Spanish and Khmer. Long Beach residents can also fill out the Covered California and Medi-Cal interest list online to have a certified enroller contact them.