What Are the Requirements for Medi-Cal?

What Are the Requirements for Medi-Cal?
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Created in 1965, Medicaid was designed as a federal government program to provide health insurance to low-income and elderly individuals. The program is jointly administered by the federal government and by the separate state governments, and in the state of California, the program is referred to as Medi-Cal. In order to receive benefits, individuals and families must meet specific eligibility requirements including income, age and health.


When considering an application for Medi-Cal assistance, an individual's assets are examined. For married couples, assets of up to $3,000 are allowed; individuals applying on their own are allowed up to $2,000. Certain personal assets are not included in the allowed amount, including a primary residence, one automobile, household goods, personal belongings, life insurance policies up to $1,500 per person and prepaid burial plots and burial plans. One of the most commonly known assets that is included in the qualification is the amount of money an applicant has in either a checking or savings account.

Age and Qualifying Conditions

In order to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits, individuals must meet specific age requirements. Qualified applicants must be either under the age of 21 or 65 years of age or older. In addition, the Medi-Cal program has a number of qualifying conditions that may make an applicant eligible for benefits if she does not meet the age requirements. Individuals who are blind, disabled or pregnant have the ability to qualify for assistance. In addition, those who are living in either an intermediate care home or a skilled nursing home and those who are on refugee status for a limited time qualify for benefits. Female applicants must have been screened for cervical and/or breast cancer.

Approved Programs

The state of California allows individuals who are receiving benefits from one of its other government programs to qualify for Medi-Cal assistance. Qualifying programs include Supplemental Security Income, commonly referred to as Social Security; CalWorks, which provides temporary financial assistance to low-income applicants; and Refugee Assistance, providing assistance to individuals who are living in California after leaving their home country due to fear of persecution. Individuals who are a part of an Adoption Assistance or Foster Care Program or those who are receiving In-Home Support Services can also qualify for Medi-Cal.