I wanted to start by briefly going over the experience that has led me to write this letter. We first applied for Medi-Cal when my husband lost his job and we lost our health insurance in July 2008. We applied with Healthy Families for our daughter, checking the box that said that we would like to be considered for Medi-Cal too. Since we had no income at the time we didn’t qualify for Healthy Families, and in September our application came to your office. I received a new packet and returned it to Health and Human Services immediately. And then I waited and waited, paying cash for our health expenses (we still had a small savings back in those days). I attempted to contact our first social worker, by calling and then by leaving notes in the office, in December. A month later, after multiple phone calls, I asked to speak to a supervisor (it had been over four months since we’d completed our application and we hadn’t heard anything) and for the first time our social worker decided we deserved a call back. She explained that she was very busy but that our application was a top priority.
She sent me a list of a few documents that hadn’t been asked for in our initial packet. I filled them out right away and sent them back. And we waited. And waited. In spring I received notice that we had a new social worker and that they didn’t have all of our pay stubs. The pay stubs were something we had given copies of to our last social worker, but I still went down to the storage locker, made copies and brought them in (they were due the day after we received the letter).
In July we finally received notice that we had been rejected because we had several hundred dollars too much in our savings. The letter said that if we had proof that we had paid that money out in medical fees, we would qualify for Medi-Cal. We had paid thousands of dollars in medical bills, so I made copies of the bills and proof of payment and brought them in to the office. I was told that that ought to fix the problem.
Shortly after we received another rejection letter stating the same thing (that we had too much in savings when we applied but that if we brought in medical bills to prove that we’d spent it we would qualify). At this point I was tired. It had been 11 months since I’d applied and I had called and left so many notes, and had made absolutely no progress.
At this point my husband and I decided to reapply because we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.
In August we finally sat down with our new “new social worker” (at least number 3 I believe). We were meticulous. We brought ever paper on the list. We filled out every form and asked questions to make sure we didn’t leave a thing out. We were way under the income requirement and our savings is gone. We were assured that everything was in order this time.
It is now November 2009 (15 months since we applied) and we have yet to be notified in writing about the status of our Medi-Cal application. Our new social worker (#4? Dennis) told my husband that we had been notified that we had been rejected. We have not. I have saved every piece of paper I have received from your office and filed it away. This has exceeded the initial 45 days we were promised over and over again.
When my husband Paul asked how this could possibly have been denied he was told that we were denied because we are still married. I’m sure that this can’t possibly be correct, because the state of California couldn’t possibly engage in such discriminatory, anti-family policies. Since Dennis was wrong about us being notified in writing, perhaps he’s also wrong that our application has been denied? I must admit that his relationship with us so far hardly inspires confidence.
We’ve come into the office time and again and left note after note for Dennis (our current social worker), but he refuses to meet with us and does not return our calls or notes. We’re really not sure where to turn. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Monday, November 2, 2009
The Letter to Our Social Workers Supervisor: The Struggle for Medi-Cal Continues...
I just finished the letter I'm writing to our social worker's supervisor. If I don't hear from him (and if he's anything like his coworkers I'm not sure I expect to) I'm going to write our state representatives and the newspaper. I really hope this can be resolved. Our state is so inefficient it's disgusting. Here's the body of the letter: