Medicaid is the federal government’s healthcare coverage program for low-income individuals and families. In California, Medicaid is known as Medi-Cal. Medicaid programs are primarily funded by the federal government, though the individual states may supplement that funding and oversee the administration of the program witincurhin the states.
Medi-Cal provides coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, and other medical services. Some Medi-Cal programs, known as full-scope Medi-Cal, provide access to all of these services while others, known as partial-scope Medi-Cal, only provide some of them.
There ae over 90 categories of Medi-Cal, each with its own separate eligibility guidelines. In general, however, you must be a resident of the State of California and be a U.S. national, citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien. In addition, because Medicaid is intended to provide healthcare services to low income individuals and families, most categories impose a fairly low income and asset limit that cannot be exceeded.
If you meet the eligibility guidelines, and your application is a approved, you will be covered by Medi-Cal at no cost. There are, however, some categories of Medi-Cal, such as the Aged, Blind, and Disabled – Medically Needy Medi-Cal, may require you to incur a pre-determined amount in healthcare expenses in any given month before Medi-Cal will start helping.
With an average monthly cost of almost $10,000 in California, nursing home costs are the primary reason why most seniors apply to Medi-Cal. For those who qualify, Medi-Cal will cover nursing home, and other long-term care, costs.
That depends on whether your physician accepts Medi-Cal. Over 130,000 healthcare providers in the State of California participate in the Medi-Cal program so if your current doctor does not accept Medi-Cal you should be able to find one nearby that does.
Medi-Cal does have an asset limit as part of the eligibility guidelines; however, assets such as your home and vehicle are exempt from consideration. To ensure that your assets are protected you should talk to an estate planning attorney about including Medi-Cal planning in you estate plan before you reach retirement age.
You can apply for Medi-Cal by mail, in person at a local office or online through the Covered California website.