Medi-Cal State Inmate Program and Medi-Cal County Inmate Program


Federal law prohibits claiming Medicaid funds for healthcare services provided to inmates residing in correctional facilities.  There is an exception to this federal prohibition when an inmate receives inpatient services at a medical facility located off the grounds of the correctional facility for an expected stay of more than 24 hours, and the inmate is found to be Medicaid eligible.

Federal Authority

  • Section 1905(a)(29)(A) of the Social Security Act
    • Medical assistance does not include care or services for an inmate of a public institution, except as a patient in a medical institution.

State Authority


The Medi-Cal Inmate Program occurs at both a State and County level and allows Medi-Cal allowable inpatient hospital services, including inpatient psychiatric services, and physician services provided during the inpatient hospital stay of inmates in correctional facilities who are determined eligible for Medi-Cal.
The Medi-Cal County Inmate Program (MCIP) is voluntary and counties have the option to participate in this program by entering into an agreement with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Per legislation, there is to be no General Fund (GF) impact under MCIP. The purpose of the MCIP agreement is to establish the amounts needed to satisfy each county’s responsibility to reimburse DHCS for the nonfederal share of MCIP service costs incurred by DHCS. If a County does not participate in MCIP or does not abide by the terms of this Agreement, the County remains responsible for arranging for and paying for medical care for its inmates.
The Medi-Cal State Inmate Program (MSIP) is unique from standard Medi-Cal claiming because Medi-Cal providers do not directly bill the DHCS for MSIP services. Under the MSIP, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) pays providers for healthcare services rendered to state inmates off the grounds of the correctional facility, and submits claims to the DHCS’ Fiscal Intermediary (FI) for Medi-Cal allowable services provided to MSIP eligible inmates. DHCS’ FI prices the claims and suspends without payment and forwards claims data to the Safety Net Financing Division (SNFD). SNFD generates an invoice for federal reimbursement paid to CDCR. 

Medi-Cal State Inmate Program

Medi-Cal County Inmate Program

Eligibility Information

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Last modified date: 9/2/2022 4:35 PM