L.A. Care Health Plan is the nation's largest publicly operated health plan serving more than 2.9 million members. Its mission is to provide access to quality health care for Los Angeles County's vulnerable and low-income residents and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose.
- In 1997, L.A. Care Health Plan began operations as Los Angeles' local initiative health plan, one of two Medi-Cal health plans serving Los Angeles County as part of the county's Two-Plan Model. It operates as a managed care plan for the county with two plan partners in its Medi-Cal product line – Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan and Anthem Blue Cross.
- Since the health plan's launch, it has added three other product lines.
- L.A. Care Health Plan is governed by 13 board members representing specific stakeholder groups, including consumer members, physicians, federally qualified health centers, children's health care providers, local hospitals and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
- California has 16 public health plans serving Medi-Cal beneficiaries, but only one, L.A. Care, is also available as a choice on the Covered California exchange. L.A. Care, with no shareholders, is a working public option on the ACA exchange.
- L.A. Care entered the marketplace in 2014, competing against five established commercial plans, with the purpose of keeping rates affordable on the exchange
- The L.A. Care model allows individuals who fall in and out of Medi-Cal eligibility due to life circumstances, to keep their same health plan and doctor.
- L.A. Care has managed to meet both goals, maintaining affordable rates and maintaining service for more than 30,000 members who have moved from one plan to another due to life circumstances.
L.A. Care is committed to advancing health equity for our members and their communities. As such, it has:
- Adopted an official Statement of Principles on Social Justice and Systemic Racism.
- Created the position of Medical Director for Quality, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to prioritize and oversee the health plan's equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Implemented an Equity Council Steering Committee to focus on equity issues related to Members, Providers & Vendors, and Employees.
- Launched Elevating the Safety Net, a five-year, $155 million initiative to recruit new primary care physicians to the Los Angeles County Safety Net in an effort to address a growing physician shortage, which has impacted low-income communities of color. The initiative launched in 2018 with a provider recruitment program, a medical school loan repayment program, and full medical school scholarships. It has grown to include:
- A residency support program
- A $5 million grant to help launch a new medical education program on the campus of Charles R. Drew University
- A $5 million grant to KGI to help launch a Master of Science in Community Medicine program
- In-Home Supportive Services Training
- A health career internship program
Community Investment to Support the Safety Net
In 2000, the L.A. Care Board of Governors established the Community Health Investment Fund (CHIF) to financially support projects that strengthen community health and fill gaps in health coverage for low-income individuals in Los Angeles County. Since then, CHIF has awarded more than $105 million for more than 800 community-based projects and for more than 240 unique community-based clinics and other non-profit social service organizations to address healthcare needs and social determinants of health. L.A. Care's safety net initiatives include:
- Homeless Health Care – In 2017, L.A. Care committed $20 million over five years to help individuals with complex health needs who are experiencing homelessness transition into permanent supportive housing
- As a follow up to this CHIF gran, in 2021, L.A. Care helped Los Angeles County's Housing for Health Division secure nearly $20 million dollars from the state to offer rental subsidies over five years. This was done through a $7 million commitment by L.A. Care over the same period to provide intensive case management for those who are housed through the program.
- Robert E. Tranquada Safety Net Awards – In 2007, L.A. Care began launched this initiative intended to help community clinics invest in strategic infrastructure improvement projects to help position the clinics for long-term growth.
- Multiple Oral Health Initiatives – Nearly $12 million committed for oral health initiatives since 2003
- Community Resource Centers – In 2007, L.A. Care opened its first Family Resource Center and had grown to five centers, when in 2019, the health plan embarked on a unique $146 million collaboration with Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan to jointly operate new, safe and inclusive Community Resource Centers across Los Angeles County. Each center connects members from both plans and the Los Angeles community to exercise and nutrition classes, health screenings, Wi-Fi access for telehealth, and membership help. Ultimately, there will be 14 Community Resource Centers across the county.
- Regional Community Advisory Committees (RCACs) – Eleven RCACs give health plan members a voice and keep L.A. Care connected to the needs of the people it serves.
- Health Promoters – This grassroots outreach and education effort, which began in 2007, trains members to go out into the community to disseminate health education and resource information at workshops and health fairs.
- Sponsorships – L.A. Care provides sponsorships to community-based organizations that are serving members and their communities through a wide variety of projects and events that address health equity and help improve health outcomes.