Medi-Cal is Critical for Older Adults and Individuals with Disabilities

Medi-Cal is Critical for Older Adults and Individuals with Disabilities

This post is part 3 of our 12-part “Protect Medi-Cal Funding” series. Medi-Cal provides a long-term investment that helps Californians succeed. This blog series highlights the importance of Medi-Cal for older adults and individuals with disabilities in California.

Medi-Cal provides health insurance to more than 2 million older adults and individuals with disabilities in California. In addition, the state’s over-65 population is expected to be 87 percent higher in 2030 than in 2012, an increase of more than 4 million people. Now more than ever, maintaining Medi-Cal is critical for these populations.

Medi-Cal ensures that older adults and individuals with disabilities receive necessary, life-saving medical care. For example, Medi-Cal covers a range of long-term care services, including nursing home care. California has come up with innovative ways to meet the unique needs of this population, including through Medicaid’s Home and Community Based Waivers that provide home and community-based long-term care services for individuals who would otherwise need nursing facility or hospital care. Medi-Cal also makes coverage affordable for older adults and individuals with disabilities by limiting cost-sharing (co-pays, premiums and deductibles) and paying for Medicare out-of-pocket costs through Medicare Savings Programs.

Some key facts of the state’s Medi-Cal program are:

  • Two-thirds of all Medi-Cal spending is for older adults and individuals with disabilities
  • Medi-Cal is the primary source of funding for California nursing home residents, funding 65 percent of all nursing home care
  • Medi-Cal currently helps 1.3 million Californians pay for Medicare cost-sharing

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), the ACA repeal-and-replace bill passed by the Republican House, would dramatically reduce federal Medicaid funding to California through a per capita cap. This funding cut jeopardizes care for our growing, aging population, and individuals with disabilities. The AHCA will:

  • Cut Medicaid funding regardless of increased costs as the elderly population lives longer
  • Jeopardize Medi-Cal eligibility for older adults and individuals with disabilities who typically have greater medical needs and experience higher health care costs
  • Force the state to seek cuts to critical home care support services that allow individuals to stay in their homes

Check out our Protect Medi-Cal Series, Issue Brief #3, for a “deeper dive” on how Medi-Cal serves as a critical safety net for California’s older adults and individuals with disabilities and how Medicaid cuts will jeopardize care for this population.

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