Muscular Dystrophy

One child, a $21-million medical bill: How a tiny number of patients poses a huge challenge for Medi-Cal

One child, a $21-million medical bill: How a tiny number of patients poses a huge challenge for Medi-Cal

Somewhere in California, one child’s medical expenses in 2014 totaled $21 million — a bill covered entirely by Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid.

The child’s condition is not known. But the cost of care was mentioned in recent Twitter and Facebook posts by Jennifer Kent, head of the state Department of Health Care Services, which runs Medi-Cal.

Kent declined to provide additional details. But she said that in recent years, Medi-Cal has had at least one patient whose annual medical expenses have reached between $15 million and $21 million.

The massive bills speak to the breadth of services Medi-Cal provides, as well as the staggering costs of some of those...

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