Assemblymember Holden Introduces Legislation to Ensure Uninterrupted Access to Medi-Cal Benefits for Former Inmates

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Chris Holden introduced legislation, AB 112 that would help incarcerated individuals access their Medi-Cal benefits immediately upon release.

“Continuity of care is critical for improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “It would also decrease the need for costlier health care services later down the road and improve successful community reintegration.”

Specifically AB 112 extends the termination date of Medi-Cal for incarcerated individuals from one year to three years. This simple extension would eliminate the lengthy process triggered by terminating and reapplying for benefits that can delay access to life saving health care upon release.

For individuals with chronic conditions, the period of time between reapplying for Medi-Cal and receiving benefits can be deadly. According to a 2007 study in Washington State, the risk of death for a formerly incarcerated person was 12.7 times higher in the two weeks following the date of release than an average person.   This study also found that the leading causes of death were drug overdoses, cardiovascular disease, homicide, and suicide.

“AB 112 will decrease rates of illness, death and recidivism by improving immediate access to health services,” said Holden.