Medicaid (called “Medi-Cal” in California and “MassHealth” in Massachusetts) is a joint federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage for those with low income, seniors and people with disabilities. In addition, it covers care in a nursing home for those who qualify. In the absence of any other public program covering long-term care, Medi-Cal has become the default nursing home insurance of the middle class.

As for home care, Medi-Cal offers very little except in New York, which provides home care to all recipients who need it. Recognizing that home care costs far less than nursing home care, a few other states—notably Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin–are pioneering efforts to provide Medicaid-covered services to those who remain in their homes.

This consumer’s guide sets forth an overview of the Medicaid program throughout the 50 United States. The laws in California differ substantially from the other 49 states. The author strongly recommends that you consult with an attorney familiar with California’s rules before implementing a Medi-Cal Plan.


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Ratner & Pinchman, PC serves clients in Southern California, including San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County and the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, El Cajon, Encinitas (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia, Olivenhain), Escondido, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Oceanside, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach, and Vista.  We are San Diego Elder Law and Medi-Cal Planning Attorneys.