Morgan Hill Medi-Cal Planning
What is Medi-Cal?
While most states use the healthcare program Medicaid, California uses Medi-Cal. Although some people confuse these with Medicare, Medicaid and Medi-Cal are the same in Morgan Hill, California. Many people utilize the program to help pay for in-home care or nursing home costs because they are unable to afford these often-lofty expenses on their own. Medi-Cal is needs-based and has quite a few financial criteria that must be met in order to qualify.
Medi-Cal does not require someone to be completely out of income options before tapping into the funds – instead, the program provides guidelines that allow spouses to continue collecting on certain incomes and retain some assets. However, sometimes these guidelines can become confusing and are easily misinterpreted. Whenever someone is planning long-term, it is often highly recommended that they hire an experienced attorney to guide them through elder law and estate planning. A professional will be able to help determine what assets to keep, as well as any specific rules that may apply for special circumstances.
How does Medi-Cal work?
After proving that someone needs a nursing home or other home care, their income and assets need to be analyzed to determine whether or not they qualify for Medi-Cal. Income limits apply to the individual as well as their spouse apply and must be considered. Once the minimum has been met, the surplus is applied to the cost of living at whichever nursing home the person has chosen in or around Morgan Hill. However, when married, the spouse is able to keep the income they bring in. In the case that the individual in the nursing home brings in the money of the household and the spouse has nothing to live on, they might qualify for a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA), although in some cases the surplus of the income from the individual in the nursing home would instead go to the spouse.
Within the Medi-Cal guidelines, assets are deemed “countable” or “exempt.” While countable assets are seen as valuable and tracked against asset limits, exempt assets are those that are not linked to eligibility. Exempt assets can include homes, personal belongings, one vehicle, funeral funds, certain life insurance policies, and some other assets if someone’s income levels do not reach the minimum in order to raise it.
Long-Term Medi-Cal Planning
Most people that use Medi-Cal in Morgan Hill use it for long-term care of senior citizens. Unfortunately, many people don’t plan early enough and are forced to pay out of pocket when they first enter a nursing home. Instead of slowly going through their savings, these people are forced to burn through it in only a few months. With proper long-term Medi-Cal planning, this can often be avoided.
The best way to start planning is to start early – for quite a few reasons. Because Medi-Cal tends to take a look at the last 30 months of someone’s financial history, planning early can allow someone to reduce their assets. For many couples, only one spouse will need to live in a nursing home while the other stays on their own, which can complicate asset limits and require time to sort out. After an individual passes away, Medi-Cal may try to receive reimbursement from their estate, further complicating things for a spouse as well. All of these things combined together can become confusing for anyone, which is why having a Medi-Cal planning lawyer is so crucial in navigating the law for you.
Where to Start?
In Morgan Hill, finding an experienced Medi-Cal attorney that is knowledgeable in all aspects of the law is crucial. An elder law attorney in Morgan Hill is able to recommend exactly what steps to take when preparing for long-term care. These professionals can explain the guidelines, along with how to best deal with assets and income restrictions in order to get someone qualified for Medi-Cal when they need it most. The sooner one starts planning, the more likely it is that they will be prepared when the time comes to move into a nursing home. To help you get through any complications that may arise during your Medi-Cal application, consult with us today!