Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Medi-Cal Facts

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Dec• 09•09

California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, is the largest in the nation.  The California Health Care Foundation offers some interesting facts about the program in this report. For instance:

In just two years, Medi-Cal’s share of the state’s General Fund spending increased from 17% to 19%. If not for provisions in the federal stimulus bill that provide California with an estimated $10-$11 billion in additional federal Medicaid matching funds, state lawmakers likely would have made much deeper cuts to Medi-Cal.

Key facts include:

  • Beneficiaries.  One in six Californian receive health insurance through Medi-Cal.  Further it is the major source of care for one out of every three California children and for nearly all individuals with AIDS.
  • Expenditure. California spending on Medi-Cal was $47 billion in 2009.  This makes Medi-Cal the second largest area of state expenditures behind education.  However, California spends 25% less per Medicaid beneficiary than the national average.
  • Expenditure Growth.  Over the past decade, Medi-Cal spending per beneficiary has grown at a much slower rate than private health insurance premiums (36% and 114%, respectively), and only slightly faster than general inflation (29%).  Medi-Cal spending is growing most rapidly among adults with disabilities, with outlays for personal care services (i.e., in-home supportive services) rising at the fastest rate. The program’s spending on prescription drugs has dropped, however, as Medicare is now the primary source of drug coverage for those beneficiaries eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Expenditure Concentration.  Medi-Cal spending is highly concentrated among a small subset of beneficiaries: just 10% of fee-for-service beneficiaries account for 81% of expenditures.

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