He’s claiming that being married means automatic disqualification. According to everything I’ve read this is absolutely not true.
I work with the agency that handles Medicaid in the state of Illinois. What follows is based on my experience but may be applicable to other states as well.
States often have different levels of state-supported or -funded medical assistance which the general public lumps together under the heading of Medicaid. However, “Medicaid” specifically refers to medical assistance supported by federal matching funds under Title XIX of the Social Security Act. This form of medical assistance is generally limited to very low-income households (below 133 percent of the federal poverty level) and persons with disabilities.
Another federal program known as SCHIP (Title XXI of the Social Security Act) funds state children’s health insurance programs, some of which also cover parents or “caretaker relatives” of minor children. SCHIP-type programs cover people with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but still not high enough to afford their own insurance.
Some states may also provide 100 percent state-funded insurance for people who aren’t eligible for the federal matching fund programs (e.g., single adults, adults with incomes too high for Medicaid or SCHIP); in those cases the people who sign up may have to pay monthly premiums or co-payments for doctor visits, prescriptions, etc.
Because these programs are funded differently they may require different forms or different processes for determining eligibility. It is very easy to get them confused – when I started working with my agency it took me a while to distinguish between all the different programs and levels of coverage offered. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, perhaps, your caseworker signed you up for the wrong program, or confused the eligibility rules of one program with another.
Right now I am not aware of ANY federal Medicaid law or regulation that makes married couples ineligible for coverage provided they meet the income standards. So I have no idea where your caseworker got the idea that being married would automatically disqualify you. Could it be that since California (like Illinois and many other states) has a severe budget crisis and the state isn’t sure how it’s going to pay for all the people who have signed up for Medi-Cal, that they are trying to discourage new people from signing up?