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California is making big changes to how it determines Medicaid eligibility for long-term care by eliminating the requirement that applicants have limited assets. While the rules apply only to California right now, other states may follow suit.

Medicaid covers long-term care for the elderly and people with disabilities who qualify for coverage. To be eligible for this coverage, you must meet the program’s strict income and asset guidelines. Also, unlike Medicare, which is totally federal, Medicaid is a joint state-federal program. Each state operates its own Medicaid system, but this system must conform to federal guidelines in order for the state to receive federal money, which pays for about half the state’s Medicaid costs. (The state picks up the rest of the tab.)

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