L.A. Care Health Plan Commemorates 15 Years of Serving L.A. County's Most Vulnerable Residents

L.A. Care Has Now Enrolled One Million Members and Provided $132 Million in Grants to Strengthen the Safety Net

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Coinciding with its 15th anniversary, L.A. Care Health Plan has announced that is now providing health insurance to over one million low-income Los Angeles County residents.   

L.A. Care serves low-income families who earn less than 250% of the federal poverty level through a number of programs including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and Medicare Special Needs Plan.  As families continue to struggle in a challenging economic climate, they have found that they can rely on L.A. Care Health Plan, solidifying its position as the largest public health plan in the United States.

"Providing access to quality health care options for low-income and vulnerable populations is L.A. Care's primary mission," said Howard Kahn, CEO of L.A. Care. "That we are growing so dramatically speaks to our stellar reputation and strong working relationships with all our stakeholders, from our members to our partners, physicians, and the communities we serve.  Yes, we are America's largest public health plan, but more importantly, L.A. Care is standing out as a leader in new and innovative approaches to health care and a national model for how local managed care can be done successfully."

L.A. Care started to experience sharp growth in some of its programs in 2008, in significant part because of the impacts of the national economic crisis on the state's economy.  The increased enrollments were also directly related to L.A. Care's partnerships with the county and state. In 2011, for example, L.A. Care was asked by the state to support the transition of seniors and people with disabilities (SPDs) into managed care as required by the federal 1115 Waiver legislation known as the Bridge to Health Care Reform. This transition of SPDs into managed care alone has led to a growth of approximately 8,000 to 10,000 members per month. To date, L.A. Care has approximately 963,000 Medi-Cal members, 17,000 Healthy Families members, 40,000 In-Home Support Services workers' coverage, and 2,600 Medicare Advantage HMO SNP members. 

Victoria Corleto-Gramajo, a separated working mother who has struggled to make ends meet attests, "My two daughters have health insurance because of L.A. Care. Although I don't qualify (for L.A. Care programs), I get health care through a clinic that L.A. Care supports. L.A. Care helped me when I needed it most."

Not only has L.A. Care enrolled over one million members, but since 2001, it has also provided nearly $132 million to strengthen the health care safety net that serves those who are not eligible for any of the L.A. Care programs. Many low-income individuals who have lost their jobs and thus their employer-based health coverage rely on safety net clinics because they do not qualify for state-sponsored health insurance. L.A. Care has provided over 300 grants to safety net clinics throughout Los Angeles County, making it possible for them to provide free and low-cost health care services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients. The grants are helping to transform clinics into patient-centered medical homes, and enabling physicians to adopt health technologies such as telemedicine.

About L.A. Care

L.A. Care Health Plan (Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County) is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of programs including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, L.A. Care's Healthy Kids, and L.A. Care Health Plan Medicare Advantage HMO SNP. L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With over one million members, L.A. Care is the nation's largest public health plan. For more information, please visit www.lacare.org.

SOURCE L.A. Care Health Plan