“Bold Changes Are in Store for Medi-Cal in 2024, but Will Patients Benefit?”

Bold Changes Are in Store for Medi-Cal in 2024, but Will Patients Benefit?,” by Bernard J. Wolfson, KFF Health News

“California’s safety-net health program, Medi-Cal, is on the cusp of major changes that could rectify long-standing problems and improve health care for the state’s low-income population. … Beginning next year, over 700,000 immigrants without permanent legal residency will become eligible for full Medi-Cal coverage. … Another big change for Medi-Cal is the elimination of the so-called asset limit test for a certain subset of enrollees, including people who are aged, blind, disabled, in long-term care, or on Medicare. In addition to meeting income requirements, people have had to keep the total value of their personal assets below certain thresholds to qualify for Medi-Cal. The assets that are counted include savings, certain investments, second homes, and even second cars. Until last year, those limits were so low ― $2,000 for an individual ― that people had virtually no ability to accumulate savings if they wanted to be on Medi-Cal. In mid-2022, however, the limit was raised to $130,000, which meant that for the majority of people subject to the test, assets were no longer a barrier to eligibility. In 2024, the asset test will be eliminated altogether.”


LTC Comment, Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform:

With no asset test for eligibility, Medi-Cal will favor the affluent over the poor. People with money can pay privately for a time using “key money” to buy their way into the best LTC facilities. The poor get only the Medi-Cal dregs. Bottom line: eliminating the asset test disfavors and disvalues socially and economically marginalized people. This kind of systemic racism is getting a lot of attention in the peer-reviewed academic literature. California becomes a serious abuser when these new rules take effect on Monday.