THE NEW MEDI-CAL RECOVERY LAWS
What is Medi-Cal?Medi-Cal is California’s version of the Medicaid program that is funded jointly by the state and federal governments. It is designed to provide free or low-cost medical assistance for low income or low-resource individuals. There are many different Medi-Cal programs, and eligibility may depend on factors such as age, disability, income or assets. Covered California is California’s version of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange. It is not a Medi-Cal program. Any tax credits or subsidies received through Covered California are not subject to Medi-Cal recovery.
What is Medi-Cal Recovery?When a Medi-Cal recipient dies, the state can seek repayment for the cost of certain services received that were paid for by Medi-Cal.
What is Current Law?For the past 20+ years, California law has allowed claims on the estates of those who received any Medi-Cal benefits when they were 55 years of age or older, regardless of the medical services received or whether recipients were in a nursing home. After the Medi-Cal recipient dies, the state will send the heirs or survivors an “estate recovery claim” asking for payment for the amount of Medi-Cal benefits paid on behalf of the deceased individual. The state does not put a lien on the home and the state does not take away your home. The state will, however, try to collect, and, if you cannot get the claim waived and still cannot afford to pay, the state will negotiate a “voluntary lien.”