Did California Accept the ACA Expansion?

Many California residents are concerned about Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility with recent and ongoing changes to the health care program. An Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion was available in 2014 throughout the country, but accepted at the discretion of each state. California is one of the state that adopted the ACA Medicaid expansion as a means to provide health care coverage to a larger number of applicants with low incomes and therefore reduce the number of uninsured residents. For comprehensive Obamacare Medicaid expansion details for California petitioners, download our detailed state guide here.

What is the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in California?

The Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion aims to make the health care program accessible to millions of low-income household throughout the United States. The ACA Medicaid expansion will also lower the cost of health care, hold insurance companies accountable, provide more choices for health care and improve the quality of services in general. Participation in the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion is optional for each state. Although all 50 U.S. states participate in the Medicaid program, not all of them opted for the expansion. California is one of the 32 states that accepted the expansion. Other accepting states include Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa and Kentucky.

What is the expansion of Medicaid effects on eligibility? In all states, you can qualify for Medicaid based on your household income, family size and status, disability, age and other factors. In states that have the ACA Medicaid expansion coverage, you can qualify based solely on your income. Also in participating states, the Obamacare Medicaid expansion has created widespread improvements to both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides affordable healthcare coverage to families with income too high to qualify for Medicaid. CHIP also covers pregnant women in California.

To learn more about how the ACA Medicaid expansion affects current and applying residents, download our comprehensive guide.

ACA Medicaid Expansion Cost to States and California

What the expansion of Medicaid affects is the budget for the state Medi-Cal program, since more residents are eligible for benefits. The ACA Medicaid expansion also increases the amount of money spent on each participant. There has been some concern about ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states regarding whether it will put too much of a burden on the health care system due to the influx of new patients. In February 2017, the state received about 13.5 million Affordable Care Act Medicaid application submissions that met eligibility requirements with over 3.8 million being from adult residents meeting qualifications from the ACA expansion.

However, studies have found that in spite of an initial increase in use of primary care and emergency room visits, the spike was temporary and dropped considerably over the following years. This means, after applying for Medicaid in California, new participants seek costly medical services at the outset of coverage, but then decrease services with continual enrollment. It would seem that concerns about the cost of the ACA Medicaid expansion being unsustainable are unfounded.

California Affordable Care Act Medicaid Eligibility

Since the ACA Medicaid expansion, more people qualify for Medicaid in California. Under the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, Medi-Cal has become much simpler for applicants to apply and qualify. For instance, the Affordable Care Act Medicaid application process after the expansion made it easier for disabled petitioners to enroll based on low income instead of waiting on disability determinations. You may be eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion if you:

  • Have a household income below a certain threshold of the federal poverty level (FPL), which depends on your family status.
  • Collect Supplemental Security Income.
  • Are disabled or elderly.
  • Have a disability and are working, but may be required to pay a low premium.
  • Are disabled, blind or senior and your income is too high but are eligible for Medically Needy Medi-Cal.

Note that Affordable Care Act Medi-Cal eligibility is different than Covered California. Whereas Medi-Cal offers free or low-cost health care coverage to eligible residents, Covered California is a health insurance market place where you can shop around for a health care plan that suits your needs. Covered California helps people who do not qualify for Medi-Cal find health insurance.

California Affordable Care Act Medicaid Application

Now you know more about Obamacare Medicaid expansion details and are ready to start the application process for Medi-Cal, you have three options for how to submit your request. California applicants can submit ACA Medicaid applications online, by mail or in person at local county human service agencies. There you will be able to talk to an agent about your eligibility and the types of coverage that are available.

Once you have submitted your ACA Medi-Cal application and are found eligible, you will receive a Medi-Cal benefits identification card (BIC) in the mail. You will also receive a booklet explaining the expansion of Medicaid and outlining how to enroll in a Medi-Cal health plan in your county. If you have not heard back from your local county human services agency within the allocated time and you have still not received your BIC, contact the agency to make an enquiry.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act Medicaid application, download our comprehensive guide.


What Are the Available Health Services in California?

Low-cost, and even free health benefits are available to a large number of California residents, with some being offered to low-income applicants and others being offered to elderly or disabled individuals. However, before you can access these health services, you need to submit the appropriate application and prove that you meet the necessary qualifications. To learn all about the different health benefits you can receive in California and the application procedures that you must undergo to obtain these benefits, download our free comprehensive guide.


Who Is Eligible to Obtain California Health Benefits?

California’s health programs have various eligibility requirements that applicants must meet in order to successfully enroll. Income, age and other factors are all taken into consideration in the eligibility verification process. Find out which health benefits you qualify for here.