In case you missed this good news, it is worth repeating. California’s final 2021-2022 budget includes the elimination of Medi-Cal’s asset test! This is a huge win, and one that California Health Advocates and many advocates across the state have been working on for a long time.
The asset test elimination will be phased in over 2.5 years. First, as of July 1, 2022, the state will raise the asset limit in the Medi-Cal programs serving older adults and people with disabilities to $130,000 for an individual and $65,000 for each additional family member. This huge increase should allow many people to get on or stay on Medi-Cal without having to impoverish themselves. Then, no sooner than January 1, 2024, the state will eliminate the asset test completely. These changes will expand access to Medi-Cal for approximately 18,000 new beneficiaries and improve access to benefits for almost 2 million Californians currently on Medi-Cal.
This will make the eligibility for Medi-Cal programs serving older adults essentially the same as those programs serving younger populations (MAGI Medi-Cal), and prevent the “cliff”, or loss of eligibility when aging into Medicare. Currently, when someone younger than 65 is on MAGI (expansion) Medi-Cal, they have no asset limit. Eligibility is based on their monthly income only. Yet once someone ages into Medicare or becomes eligible for Medicare due to a disability, they get their Medi-Cal through the Aged and Disabled Federal Poverty Level (A&D FPL) program. While the monthly income limits are the same, the A&D FPL program has asset limits of $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. This limit has not been raised since 1989, and blocks thousands of people from continuing to receive Medi-Cal. This excessively low limit also prevents people from saving money for a new roof, new car or any type of emergency, and promotes financial instability.
We are thrilled that as of July 1 2022, the asset limit will be $130,000, essentially eliminating it for most people, and will be completely eliminated no sooner than January 1, 2024. Join us in some jumps and hooplas of celebration!! This victory is a long time in coming and will positively affect the wellbeing and quality of life of many!
For more details, see the bill language from AB 133 in the budget (Section 364).