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Friday, April 19, 2024

California lifts asset limits for Medi-Cal eligibility, easing application process

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The requirement for Medi-Cal applicants to disclose bank deposits due to the asset limit rule has been removed, prompting the state government to encourage eligible individuals to sign up for Medi-Cal.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a nonprofit healthcare organization, stated that previously, individuals needed $130,000 and couples needed $195,000 in bank deposits to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits. Still, these limits have been lifted this year.

Medi-Cal applicants are no longer obliged to submit vehicle registration or bank documents, which were mandatory in past applications.

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Medi-Cal no longer limits threshold in assets such as in bank deposit or vehicle registration to qualify beneficiaries.

 

State officials have stated that those who qualified for Medi-Cal benefits during the pandemic due to circumstances like job loss will remain eligible under the newly relaxed rules.

KFF said, “Although Medi-Cal eligibility was tightened after the pandemic ended, 2 million of the state’s 15.3 million Medi-Cal enrollees will be able to keep their Medi-Cal benefits under the new rules starting this year, relieving people with long-term care needs, people with disabilities, and seniors of the fear that they could be disqualified from Medi-Cal because of assets they may have.”

Nevertheless, income guidelines still apply, capping monthly income at $1,677 for individuals and $3,450 for a family of four.

“To qualify for Medi-Cal, low-income families were unable to build up an emergency fund,” said Tiffany Huyenh-Cho, an attorney at Justice in Aging, a senior advocacy nonprofit, “but the new rule allows them to save. They will be able to save money, and it will make a difference in their lives.”

The removal of asset limits applies solely to Medi-Cal. Applicants for SSI—a cash assistance program for those with disabilities and minimal or no income—and CalFresh, the food assistance program, still face a savings threshold of $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples.

BY NICOLE CHANG, HOONSIK WOO   [chang.nicole@koreadaily.com]