Following a state law that went into effect last year, significantly more low-income Californians are using free transportation to get to medical appointments.
Ride services were already offered by 17 of the 21 Medi-Cal managed-care health plans. Yet AB 2394, authored by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, mandated that all enrollees have access to free transportation, whether through ride sharing, vans or public transport. The mandate officially took effect last July for Medi-Cal, California’s low-income health plan.
Though some 70 percent of Medi-Cal managed-care enrollees already had access to such services, many enrollees were falling through the gaps.
“We had heard a lot of stories about the challenges of people getting to the doctor when they didn’t have a reliable vehicle,” said Linda Nguy, policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which sponsored the legislation.