There are two significant changes that will make a big difference in the lives of many Alameda and Contra Costa County seniors. As East Bay seniors and their families consider how to pay for numerous healthcare services, one option is the California State Medicaid program called Medi-Cal. Many PACE healthcare participants qualify for Medi-Cal and receive high quality and fully-coordinated healthcare and many other benefits.
Effective May 1, 2022 – More benefits regardless of immigration status.
If you are from another country and reside in California, people age 50 or older who qualify for Medi-Cal will receive full benefits regardless of immigration status. If someone currently has limited Medi-Cal coverage because of their immigration status, they are automatically upgraded to receive full Medi-Cal coverage. If you applied for Medi-Cal and was denied because of your immigration status, you are encouraged to re-apply.
This means that you do not need to be an authorized immigrant to have the State of California provide and pay for primary medical care plus prescription drugs, mental health care, dental and eye care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, in-home supportive services (IHSS) and other community-based services, and medical transportation.
All you have to do is qualify for Medi-Cal. There are numerous free services to help you learn about these new benefits and how to apply.
The Health Consumer Alliance (888‑804‑3536 or www.healthconsumer.org) provides free consultations and has offices across the state. It also has a fact sheet— available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and multiple other languages — that explains the Medi-Cal expansion to older adults. It provides contact information for enrollment, whether through your county welfare office, Covered California, or your local community clinic.
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (916-448-3234 or www.lchc.org) offers a toolkit and fact sheets in English and Spanish. The advocacy groups Health Access and the California Immigrant Policy Center have put out a joint FAQ in English and Spanish.
Thank you to California Healthline for the above resources: https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/california-medicaid-older-unauthorized-immigrants/ or in Spanish https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/california-abre-el-medi-cal-a-adultos-mayores-indocumentados/
Effective July 1, 2022, you can keep more savings in the bank and qualify.
The new allowed financial rules will let people keep their savings and qualify for Medi-Cal. The amount of savings or investments a person can have is dramatically increasing.
Before July 1, a single person could only have a maximum of $2,000 in savings. Starting on July 1, a single person can have up to $130,000. For couples, the maximum allowed will also increase to $195,000. This is a significant increase and gives someone the ability to keep their lifesavings intact for enjoying their life rather than “spending down” or going without medical care.
|Savings/Investments Allowed by Medi-Cal|
|Before July 1||$2,000||$3,000|
|After July 1||$130,000||$195,000|
Example: You have a strong chance of qualifying for Medi-Cal and receive your healthcare from Center for Elders’ Independence if you are:
- A single older adult with medical challenges
- Who owns or rents a home in Alameda or Contra Costa County
- Who owns or leases one car
- Has $130,000 or less in retirement savings
- Receives $1,563 or less a month income
Another example: Let’s say you are a married couple and one of you needs additional in-home medical care. If you:
- Have less than $195,000 in retirement savings
- Own or rent a home in Alameda or Contra Costa County
- Own or lease one car
- Receives a monthly income of $2,106 or less
With these new rules, people no longer have to be extremely poor to receive much needed medical benefits provided by the State. To ask questions or get free enrollment help, reach out to California Health Advocates:
Alameda County: 510-839-0393 or visit https://www.lashicap.org/programs/hicap/
Contra Costa County: 925-602-4178 or visit https://cchicap.org/
With both of these changes, many more East Bay seniors are well on their way to flourish and prosper as they age. And when you are ready for true comprehensive healthcare, we would be honored to have you join us at Center for Elders’ Independence with six locations to serve you. To learn more about CEI, visit: https://www.elders.org.