Medi-Cal Eligibility: What’s Exempt? What’s Not?


Medi-Cal eligibility is limited by restrictions on assets (referred to as “resources” under federal statute and “property” in the California regulations). The purpose of these rules is to exclude those persons whose assets are above a threshold “property reserve” limit. Therefore, it is important to distinguish which of your assets are exempt and which are not.


Under Medi-Cal rules, many assets are considered exempt and thus not counted in determining eligibility. The primary exempt assets are:

Principal residence (WIC 14006)

Vehicle (22 CCR 50461(a)

Items used to furnish and equip the home (22 CCR 50465)

Personal effects, i.e., clothing, heirlooms, wedding and engagement rings, jewelry with a net market of $100 or less (22 CCR 50467)

Musical instruments (22 CCR 50471)

Burial Insurance (22 CCR 50476)

Burial plots, vaults, and crypts (for any member of the immediate family) (22 CCR 50477)

Burial funds/contracts (22 CCR 50479) that do not exceed $1,500 at creation, or irrevocable burial trust

Life insurance if it has no cash surrender value or if the face value of all policies combined is less than $1500 (ACWDL 08-02, 22 CCR 50475)

Income-producing property and property used for self-support (22 CCR 50485; ACWDL 91-28 and 95-22)

If an asset is not exempt then it will be counted for eligibility purposes. Some non-exempt assets may be:

Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds

  • The value of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds is the closing price on the date the property is evaluated (22 CCR 50456).

Checking and Savings

  • The entire amount in checking and savings accounts to which the Medi-Cal applicant has unrestricted access in included. (22 CCR 50453).
  • Joint accounts are considered available in their entirety if the applicant has unrestricted access to the funds unless the applicant can present evidence that clearly establishes the other person owns all or a portion of the funds (22 CCR 50453).

Other Real Estate

  • The market value of non-exempt real property is the lower of (1) its assessed value determined under the most recent property tax assessment; or (2) its appraised value.
  • The net value is determined by subtracting encumbrances of record from the market value (WIC 14006) (22 CCR 50412).
  • Promissory Notes/Deeds of Trust (22 CCR 50441).

If you have questions regarding Medi-Cal eligibility, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be glad to hear from you.
Please note that the foregoing is current only up to the date it was written (August 14, 2020). Moreover, the materials available on this page and at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Use of and access to this website or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship.