The Medi-Cal share of cost program extends Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income older adults and people with disabilities who have significant health care needs but are just above the free Medi-Cal income limit. The share of cost program acts as a critical pathway to health care coverage, but outdated income limits force people to spend more than half of their income on health care needs every month. The maintenance need income level, currently $600, has not been updated since 1989, despite the fact that the cost of living has increased greatly in the past three decades. Considering that $600 is just 55% of federal poverty level for 2021, it is impossible for an individual to meet their basic needs using only $600 a month—especially in California’s high-cost areas. AB 1900 will raise the maintenance need income level to 138% of the federal poverty level, even with the current income eligibility limit for free Medi-Cal.
CANHR Advocate Bea Layugan testifying in support of AB-1900 (Arambula) at the California State Assembly Health Committee hearing on March 22, 2022. With introduction by Assemblymember Arambula.