Publications / Improving Medi-Cal Communications for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Improving Medi-Cal Communications for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Explaining Share of Cost and Other Medi-Cal Programs

Key Takeaways

  • Medi-Cal enrollees are confused, frustrated, insulted, and intimidated when they see words, phrases, and jargon that are unclear, unfamiliar, or overly complicated.
  • Medi-Cal enrollees want specific and relevant details of how any changes will or will not impact them, including examples. They do not want to wade through information that does not pertain to their personal situation or seek out details in other mailings or documentation to get complete information.
  • Medi-Cal enrollees want to see how their Share of Cost is calculated. This will instill confidence that the math was done correctly and provide documentation for enrollees requesting state hearings.

This project, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, tested and refined written materials for older adults and people with disabilities (or their proxies) currently enrolled in Medi-Cal in the “Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD)” aid codes. Materials in English, Spanish, and Chinese were tested with relevant Medi-Cal populations during two project phases.

  • Phase One focused on documents about Medi-Cal programs for older adults (age 65 and older) and people with disabilities.
  • Phase Two focused on documents about Medi-Cal with a share of cost (SOC). Older adults and people with disabilities whose income is too high to qualify for no-cost Medi-Cal have a SOC similar to a deductible. Phase Two materials were tested with Medi-Cal SOC enrollees (or their proxies) who live at home or in long-term care facilities.

The PowerPoint deck available for download summarizes the project’s five key findings and corresponding recommendations as well as practical examples of language changes and other ways to implement the recommendations. For example:

  • Recommendation: Use common, everyday words and phrases. Explain programs or concepts before providing their official name. When words or phrases cannot be modified for legal- or policy-related reasons, define them. Update corresponding documents so that revised words and phrases are universal.
    • Original Phrase: “Countable Monthly Income”
    • Recommended Phrase: “The only part of your total monthly income that the Medi-Cal program can use to determine your eligibility.”
  • Recommendation: Include specific details that are relevant and reassuring. Write in a logical flow to minimize the burden on the reader. Streamline the number of mailings sent to enrollees.
    • Original Phrase: “You are now responsible for paying a monthly resident cost.”
    • Recommended Phrase: “You are now responsible for paying a monthly resident cost. It will cover your healthcare, medicine, medical equipment, and personal care; room and board, including meals; physical and occupational therapy; laundry; and social and recreational activities. You will continue to receive all of the same Medi-Cal benefits that you previously had.”

What's Trending

Explore the most popular publications, blogs, resources, and more from CHCF.