Burke Bill Will Make Health Care More Affordable for Seniors

For immediate release:

AB 763 creates income eligibility parity in Medi-Cal for those 65 and older

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) introduced AB 763 to increase the Medi-Cal income eligibility threshold for certain seniors, improving access to affordable health care coverage.   

“We’re talking about some of our most vulnerable seniors – they shouldn’t have to choose between going to the doctor and putting food on the table,” said Burke.  “AB 763 will give thousands the access to affordable care they need, and it’s long overdue.”

Nearly half a million low-income Californians are required to pay hundreds of dollars each month in Medi-Cal as part of their “share of cost” obligation before their Medi-Cal coverage will pay for services.  Under the Affordable Care Act, most adults with incomes up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is $16,243 in annual income for an individual,  are eligible for free Medi-Cal.  However, California limits eligibility for free Medi-Cal for those over the age of 65 at 123% of the Federal Poverty Level.  The lower limit on eligibility, combined with an outdated calculation of how much an individual needs to survive each month is restricting access to needed health care.

“I’m ready to work with my colleague, Assemblywoman Burke, to address this clear equity issue that is making it extremely difficult for low income seniors, the blind and disabled to afford and receive the care they need,” said Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla.  “AB 763 not only reduces the high Medi-Cal share of costs for thousands of our state’s most vulnerable, aged and disabled patients, but it creates long overdue income eligibility parity amongst the various Medi-Cal groups.” 

AB 763 is sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty and its first vote will occur April.  If passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Brown, the bill’s provisions would become law on January 1, 2016.