Elder Law and Medi-Cal Planning

While most people are familiar with Medicare (government health insurance available for those 65 and older), Medi-Cal (California’s name for Medicaid) is often misunderstood. It is a joint federal-state program, Medi-Cal provides medical assistance to those who are 65 or older, disabled, or blind. Medi-Cal, unlike Medicare, has income and asset restrictions.

Medi-Cal eligibility is determined by the amount of income and resources available to the applicant. Many people assume you have to be poor to qualify for Medi-Cal, but that is not true. With the right planning, many middle-class people can qualify before they become impoverished from paying for nursing home care. The cost of a nursing home ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 a month. Because of the high cost, most Californians have to rely on Medi-Cal to pay for their long-term care. Planning ahead of time increases your opportunities.

Did You Know When Planning for Medi-Cal…

  1. Assets in a revocable living trust are not protected and must be used to pay for the costs of long term care
  2. If you transfer your home to your children, not only could it result in immediate ineligibility for Medi-Cal, but it could also:
    • Trigger a gift tax
    • Result in your child’s wife or husband inheriting your home
  3. Giving your assets away means losing control. It’s not safe even if you trust someone
    • If that person divorces, goes bankrupt, or gets sued, all the money you transferred is at risk
  4. There are asset protection trusts that permit you to keep 100% control of your assets without the risk of losing them if long-term care is needed
  5. You do not have to wait 36 months to qualify for Medi-Cal
  6. It is never too late to protect your assets even if you are already in a nursing home
  7. A nursing home or hospital has no obligation to advise you how to protect your assets
  8. Applying for Medi-Cal prior to qualification could result in being disqualified or result in penalties
  9. Consider long-term care insurance. An annual premium for a couple is usually less expensive than one month of nursing home care and with proper planning; it may also enable you to stay home if you become ill

The impact that long term care costs can have on you and your family can no longer be ignored. Over 60% of individuals over the age 65 will spend some time in a nursing home. Consequently, many people will be forced with using the entire savings to cover the costs of long term care. The Medicaid (Medi-Cal), program is our country’s largest health and long term care insurer, covering 1 in 6 Americans.

Medicaid (Medi-Cal) planning is 100% legal and ethical. Our firm uses the Medi-Cal rules to put our clients in the best possible position, much like an attorney or CPA would use the IRS code to their clients best advantage. Without proper planning you could end up without any financial resources and very few care options to afford your care long term.

To maximize and review all your care options call us at 415-905-0215. Soon you will also be able to register for for my next Free workshop. Forms will be posted to this website for registration once a workshop has been scheduled.