Governor Signs AB 1088 (Wood) to Support of Vulnerable Seniors

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO–Today Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1088 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), a bill that will protect low-income seniors turning 65 and people with disabilities from a loophole in existing law that results in their losing access to Medi-Cal coverage.

AB 1088, will help prevent seniors and people with disabilities who are dually enrolled in Medicare and Medi-Cal from losing their Medi-Cal coverage when the state begins paying their Medicare Part B premiums, which covers physician services. This amount, which is $135.50 per month (or $271 for a couple) can be just enough to increase their countable income for purposes of determining their Medi-Cal eligibility to cause them to be dropped from Medi-Cal.

“Within this ever-growing population, we have some of our most vulnerable seniors who often have to make difficult choices – to pay for their rent and utilities, see a doctor, or purchase groceries or the medications they need,” said Wood. “We need to protect our vulnerable seniors and one of my priorities this year was to make a positive difference in their lives.”

Seniors are California’s fastest-growing population. Between now and 2026, the number of Californians 65 and older is expected to climb by 2.1 million, according to projections by the state Department of Finance. Seniors will make up a sharply larger share of the state’s population by 2060 — the only age bracket to grow in scale.

“My bill will prevent seniors and people with disabilities from falling in and out of Medi-Cal eligibility,” said Wood. “This bill will stop this unfair process by disregarding the state’s payment for their Medicare premium as income and allowing them to maintain consistent coverage.”