Governor Brown signed SB 833 which includes major changes to the Medi-Cal Recovery program!

The budget bills signed by Governor Brown incorporated the provisions of SB 33 (Hernandez) and ensures:

  • No recovery on the estates of surviving spouses

  • Recovery will be limited to only what is required by federal law, i.e., for those 55+ years of age, nursing home facility and long term care services or any age if the person was “permanently institutionalized."

  • Waivers of estate claims for homesteads of modest value

  • The “Estate” from which the state can recover will be limited to the probate estate - thus, living trusts, joint tenancies, etc. will not be subject to recovery

  • Interest on liens will be limited

  • Those who could be subject to recovery can receive an itemized billing once a year for a $5 fee.

  • The new provisions are effective for those who die on or after January 1, 2017

What this means:

These revisions to the Medi-Cal estate recovery program are the most significant change to the Medi-Cal rules since 1990, when the Spousal Impoverishment Rules were implemented by the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act.

The changes implemented as of January 1, 2017, will enable more Medi-Cal recipients to leave an inheritance to their children/families without having to pay back the state on their death. This still does not apply to all Medi-Cal recipients, but it shall exclude from recovery many more recipients than before.

California has been the most generous state in the nation in allowing low income and middle class families to qualify for benefits. But California has the most aggressive and harsh estate recovery program. With the new rules, more families will not be forced between choosing health care through Medi-Cal, and losing their life savings.

The new rules can be found at:

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