Important Facts About Medi-Cal: Introduction
Medicaid (called “Medi-Cal” here in California and “MassHealth” in Massachusetts) is a joint federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income children, 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 State, which provides home care to all Medi-Cal recipients who need it. Recognizing that home care costs far less than nursing home care, a few other states—notably Hawaii, Oregon and Wisconsin—are pioneering efforts to provide Medi-Cal-covered services to those who remain in their homes.
While Congress and the federal Health Care Financing Administration set out the main rules under which Medi-Cal operates, each state runs its own program. As a result, the rules are somewhat different in every state, although the framework is the same throughout the country. The following describes those basic rules, but check your state for the specific application where you live.