Aptos Medi-Cal Planning
About Campbell Medi-Cal Planning & Ward Law
The program most people know as Medicaid is only different in California with its name change. In Campbell, it is called Medi-Cal. This is the program that offers individuals financial assistance with long term care, including nursing homes and in-home care. Not surprisingly, long term care is quite expensive for anyone to pay for on their own and can deplete seniors’ savings in an instant. In fact, Medi-Cal can offer full coverage of the costs of long-term care for the people that qualify. However, it can be hard to understand all the qualifications required for Medi-Cal.
One of the best parts about Medi-Cal is that people aren’t required to be next to bankrupt before being able to qualify. Although the program does have some hard to understand guidelines and other requirements, the benefit of not having to dip into someone’s lifelong savings in order to pay for nursing home care makes it worth it to wade through. There are no other programs that are able to offer as much coverage of long-term care costs as Medi-Cal, even with its strict income and asset limitations. Those that are just looking at Medi-Cal regulations for the first time can be easily overwhelmed, which is why it is important to utilize the advice of an experienced Medi-Cal attorney. An attorney will better prepare someone for how to prepare and protect their assets for when it might be time for them to apply for Medi-Cal. This early onset preparation allows people to feel more secure in their finances and better able to handle any surprises that might happen.
Regulations of Medi-Cal
Medi-Cal requires a unique analysis of an individual’s income and assets to determine if they really need the assistance of the program. Like many federal programs, this process is extensive and can even look into the income of the spouse of an individual. Once the limitation is met on income, Medi-Cal requires that the surplus be given to the long-term care facility to pay off some of the total bill, rather than being spent on anything else. A spouse of this individual under Medi-Cal guidelines, however, is allowed to keep what they make in a month for themselves to use as they wish. On the other hand, if that spouse does not bring in enough monthly income, they might be able to qualify for another program called MMMNA (Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance). People that are currently paying for nursing care expenses by themselves are not out of luck either – they may still be able to qualify for Medi-Cal.
Hiring a professional Medi-Cal attorney is crucial, as the guidelines for Medi-Cal can change every year. Assets must be converted into two categories under Medi-Cal rules: either “exempt” or “countable.” While it is pretty obvious what exempt assets are (anything that isn’t counted in determining qualification), countable assets can be extensively tracked. In some cases when someone’s income doesn’t meet the minimum requirement for the program, Medi-Cal allows for assets that normally would be countable to be exempt to get them to qualify. While there are ways to work with the guidelines, using an attorney is typically the only way to do it with the best outcome.
How to Plan with Medi-Cal
One of the biggest hits to personal savings accounts of seniors is the cost of long-term care. In fact, people have been known to blow through their savings in a matter of a few short months when unexpectedly needing long term care. Without preparing for this cost that could happen when you least expect, your savings could also be hit. The sooner one plans for Medi-Cal qualification, the easier it will be to fill out the application (and get acceptance into the program) down the road.
Medi-Cal is not a program someone can expect to qualify for immediately with no preparation. In fact, Medi-Cal will look into an individual’s history (of all transactions) for over two years. Having a Medi-Cal attorney to get your assets and financial history prepared for this transition before something happens is crucial. An attorney can also help families prepare for different situations that might occur later in life as well. This could cover emergency situations, how to care for loved ones that are incapacitated, and more – which is typically all covered in estate planning. End of life planning is never easy, but it is important. In doing so, your family can be at peace knowing that they are following your instructions of what needs to happen to your assets and belongings after you pass.
Picking a Medi-Cal Lawyer in Campbell
In Campbell, picking a Medi-Cal lawyer should be a well thought out process. When choosing one, you want to ensure that they put your wants and needs first – no matter what they are. A good attorney will listen to your concerns and explain everything you will need to know about Medi-Cal (how it works, what will happen to your assets, how a spouse will maintain their own income, how much it covers of your expenses, etc.). With the always changing guidelines, your attorney will also prepare your assets and family for what needs to happen in order to qualify you for Medi-Cal.
For the best possible chance of getting accepted into Medi-Cal, it is important to start planning as early as possible. Most people can’t afford the exponential cost structure of long-term care without some type of help or program. We encourage you not to wait until something happens (or you are already in a long-term care facility) to start making the changes you need to in order to qualify for Medi-Cal. A Campbell Medi-Cal attorney will take the time to do whatever they can to get your finances and assets ready for Medi-Cal, although reducing assets is often a last resort. Once you believe it is time for you and your family to start planning for Medi-Cal approval to get rid of the expenses breaking down your savings, give us a call today.