Submitted by Elaine Wong Eakin
Starting July 1, 2022, California’s Medicaid’s asset limit significantly increases
from $2,000 to $130,000 for an individual and $3,000 to $195,000 for a couple.
This change is historic as the asset limit has not been updated since 1989.
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid, a public health coverage program for individuals
and families. Medi-Cal has different programs for different populations. Since the
Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, many California residents
qualify for MAGI Medi-Cal, which does not consider an applicant’s assets.
However, programs prior to the Affordable Care Act continue to exist and these
programs require applicants to have assets below a certain amount or limit.
Starting July 1, 2022, the asset limit will significantly increase, allowing more
people to qualify for these Medi-Cal programs.
Assets include money in the bank, stocks, bonds, cash, real property, and the cash
surrender value of a life insurance policy. While some assets are counted (or not
exempt), others are not counted (or exempt). For example, the house you own
and live in is not counted.
Assets are counted separately from income. Examples of income are wages, Social
Security benefits, pensions and annuities. In addition to meeting the asset
requirement, applicants also need to meet other eligibility requirements. For
instance, the Aged, Blind and Disabled Federal Poverty Level program limits
income to $1,564 (monthly) or $18,755 (yearly) and sets an age (65 years or
older) or disability requirement.
If you qualify for Medi-Cal before July 1, 2022, your Medi-Cal will continue. The
advantage is you can have more assets after July 1 and still qualify at the next
redetermination. If you were not eligible for Medi-Cal because your assets were
over the limit, you may apply under the higher asset limit.
The programs that still count an applicant’s assets affect older adults and people
with disabilities, for example, the Aged, Blind and Disabled and the 250% Working
Disabled programs. People who have Medicare may also qualify for Medi-Cal.
You may apply at your county’s Medi-Cal office. In San Francisco, contact the San
Francisco Human Services Agency, phone (415) 558-4700.
Elaine Wong Eakin is benefits counselor, health educator and licensed agent. For
16+ years, she has been helping people with Medicare. She teaches a course,
Overview of Health Care Insurance Options, at UC Berkeley Extension. She can be
reached at EWEakin@gmail.com and (510) 485-9869.