Consumer Medi-Cal Updates for COVID-19

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Updated June 15, 2020

The Department of Health Care Service (DHCS) has instituted extensive changes to the Medi-Cal program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a complete list of these changes, please visit the DHCS website:

Below are some highlights for older adults and persons with disabilities on Medi-Cal:  

  • Discontinuances: Your Medi-Cal benefits cannot be discontinued during the COVID-19 emergency. Medi-Cal discontinuances are prohibited until after the Governor lifts the state of emergency order. Currently, the only reasons your benefits may be discontinued are if you die, you move out of state, or if you tell the county worker you no longer want benefits.  See Important Information about Medi-Cal and COVID-19.
  • Annual Redeterminations: You cannot be asked to provide redetermination paperwork to maintain your Medi-Cal benefits until the emergency order is lifted. If you already received your redetermination packet, you can send it in, but your county worker might not process it right away. See Important Information about Medi-Cal and COVID-19.
  • Stimulus Checks Exempt: Under the CARES Act, most individuals received stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for adults and $500 for children. For Medi-Cal purposes, these funds will be not be counted as income, and will be excluded as property for a period of 12 months. See AFL 20-09.
  • Nursing Home Residents Can Keep Stimulus Checks: Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not entitled to take residents’ stimulus checks. If this has happened to you, contact CANHR or report it to the CA attorney general. See: FTC Consumer Information Notice.
  • Unemployment Benefits: Unemployment benefits are counted as income (taxable portion for MAGI) for the purposes of Medi-Cal. However, the additional $600 weekly payment under Section 2104 of the CARES Act will be disregarded for Medi-Cal purposes. See AFL 20-09.
  • Processing Applications: You may still apply to Medi-Cal online, by mail, fax, or by dropping off a paper application at the designated drop-box location at each county Medi-Cal office. If you are unable to sign the application due to circumstances related to COVID-19, the county may accept a phone attestation. See MEDIL 20-12.