I had Medi-Cal when I entered prison or jail. What happens to it while I’m incarcerated?

It depends on how long your incarceration lasts. In California, as soon as you go to prison or jail, your Medi-Cal gets suspended, meaning paused.

    If you’re incarcerated for less than 1 year: you can reactivate your enrollment by working with staff at your correctional facility before you get out, or by notifying the Medi-Cal office as soon as you’re out.
    If you’re incarcerated for 1 year or more: your Medi-Cal gets ended, and you need to file a new application. See the next question for more details.[1584]

Helpful HintThe Medi-Cal Inmate Eligibility Program (MCIEP)

If you are pregnant, disabled, blind, or aged, MCIEP allows Medi-Cal to cover expenses for inpatient (over 24 hours) medical care in non-correctional healthcare facilities (such as hospitals) to individuals who are otherwise eligible for Medi-Cal. Individuals can obtain MCIEP benefits as long as they are remain eligible for Medi-Cal due to pregnancy, disability, blindness, or old age.[1585] If you were receiving MCIEP benefits while incarcerated, upon your release from jail or prison, you will be able to switch back to receiving regular Medi-Cal.

  1. 1584

    AB 720; ACWDL 13-18: Medi-Cal & Related Programs for State & County Inmates, http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/eligibility/Documents/13-18.pdf; ACWDL 14-26: Implementation of AB 720—Suspension of Medi-Cal Benefits for all Inmates & Other Requirements, State of Cal. Health & Human Servs. Dep’t of Healthcare Servs., http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/eligibility/Documents/ACWDL2014/14-26.pdf; Public Policy Institute of California, Health Care for California’s Jail Population (June 2014), http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_614MBR.pdf.

  2. 1585

    See All Counties Letter 11-27, dated June 24, 2011, State of Cal. Health & Human Servs., http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/eligibility/Documents/c11-27.pdf.