Kaiser Health News: California Makes it Easier for Low-Income Residents to Get and Keep Free Health Coverage (July 20, 2021)
A provision in California’s newly approved state budget will eliminate the asset test for the 2 million Californians enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and people under 65 with certain disabilities. Instead, their financial eligibility will be based solely on income, as it is for the millions of other people in Medi-Cal.
Ultimately, the test favors individuals and families who can navigate the rules and find ways to hide money in exempt accounts, said Claire Ramsey, a senior attorney with Justice in Aging. “You create administrative hurdles, which keeps people artificially off the program,” Ramsey said. “If it’s hard for the lawyers to understand all the rules, what does that mean for the average person who’s just trying to have health insurance?”