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Eyeglasses, speech therapy and other services returning to Medi-Cal benefit list

Yapparina/Wikimedia Commons

The number of Californians on Medi-Cal has grown rapidly over the last decade. But until now, adult patients didn’t have access to some key services, including eyeglasses. That’s because the state started slashing Medi-Cal benefits as a cost-saver during the last recession.

But new funding in the latest budget will bring those benefits back this January. 

“We want everyone to see, and we think everyone deserves to see,” said Dr. David Ardaya with the California Optometric Association. 

Ardaya said until now, adults on Medi-Cal were forced to buy eyeglasses out of pocket, or go without them. 

“Those that had the ability to get glasses were able to perform their work functions better, they were able to drive more effectively, and read better,which is really unfair, unfortunately,"  Ardaya said.

Contacts still won’t be covered. But some other previously excluded services like speech therapy and foot care can now be billed to the state.

This is the next step in an ongoing process of restoring slashed Medi-Cal benefits. The state has slowly been restoring dental coverage in recent years.

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