Current Events Home Health Medicaid Medicaid/Medicare Nursing Home Nursing Homes

Elimination of the Medicaid asset test?

No, this is not coming nation-wide, but it may be on its way in California. Kaiser Health News reports:

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.
The elimination of the test will be a game changer for aging or impaired Californians who need long-term care but are caught in a common conundrum: They don’t earn enough to cover the high costs of ongoing nursing home care and can’t rely on Medicare, which does not cover extended nursing home stays. They can get that care through Medi-Cal, but they would have to wipe out their savings first.
The 2021-22 state budget deal includes several provisions that will make it easier to get on and stay on Medi-Cal, including the elimination of the asset test. Everyone 50 and over will be eligible, regardless of immigration status. And new mothers will be allowed to remain on Medi-Cal for one year after giving birth, up from 60 days.

This provision certainly will be good for patients, but may lead to a crunch for the state budget. This may be especially true as California has extended Medi-Cal eligibility to unauthorized immigrants and starting in July 2022 new mothers will be able to stay on Medi-Cal for up to 1 year.

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