New eligibility requirements have made it easier for people to participate in Medi-Cal, California’s medical assistance program serving low-income individuals. New eligibility requirements announced in April are part of the state’s “Healthy California for All” strategy and include full coverage to all eligible adults 50 and over, regardless of immigration status. Changes in asset limits were also announced.

This is good news for California’s aging population who wish to remain in their homes and communities while they age. With the change, more Bay Area seniors will have Medi-Cal and can benefit from On Lok PACE, a model of care founded by On Lok. On Lok PACE is a full-service healthcare program covered by Medi-Cal and Medicare, that provides important healthcare and support services including medical care, home care, transportation, and support services.

As the founders of PACE, we are excited that with expanded Medi-Cal access, more seniors will choose to enroll with On Lok PACE. With this important new change, Medi-Cal is making sure California’s most at-risk population gets the support they need to remain independent while they age.

Eligibility changes around immigrant status aligns with On Lok’s purpose and mission. Founded by Dr. William Gee and Marie-Louise Ansak, both immigrants themselves, On Lok’s mission was to provide culturally appropriate care to underserved seniors, while also providing jobs for immigrants. That bold idea, almost half a century later, is still at the heart of On Lok. Today, every senior, no matter their background, is supported with culturally appropriate, compassionate care, and the On Lok staff is as diverse as the community we serve.

Additionally, as of July 1, the state will raise the asset limit to $130,000 for an individual and $65,000 for each additional family member. The limit has not been raised since 1989 and has prevented financial stability for California’s most vulnerable populations. Californians are worried about the costs of growing older, and with these new changes, Medi-Cal will have a positive impact on the wellbeing and quality of life for the state’s aging population.