The decision to move a family member or loved one into a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions you can make. When you or a loved one is sick and is faced with the prospect of moving to a skilled nursing facility, it’s important to remember that you have options. Careful planning, whether in advance or in response to an unanticipated need for care, can help protect your estate for your spouse and/or your children. One approach to planning is making sure that you receive all the benefits that you are entitled to under the Medi-Cal program.
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. It’s a public health program, which provides needed healthcare assistance for eligible individuals. The state of California and federal government finance it equally. The nursing home Medi-Cal program is designed to assist with the payment of skilled nursing care costs for individuals who qualify. Without Medi-Cal, a skilled nursing home resident can expect to pay about $9,500 per month in Santa Clara County.
There are three very important areas to consider when developing a comprehensive Medi-Cal plan:
- Eligibility planning (to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits)
- Income planning (to reduce or eliminate Medi-Cal beneficiary’s monthly “share-of-cost” co-payment)
- Medi-Cal estate recovery planning (to reduce or eliminate Medi-Cal estate recovery against the beneficiary’s estate)
Early Medi-Cal qualification planning can enable you to create estate-planning documents with Medi-Cal planning language. This will ensure that your appointed agent is able to carry out further Medi-Cal eligibility planning if you become incapacitated at a later time. Proper estate planning documents can also insure that your appointed agent has legal authority to implement an appropriate Medi-Cal estate recovery minimization or avoidance plan.
California laws regarding Medi-Cal eligibility are constantly changing. Because of this, it’s important to consult with an attorney who will help you understand how Medi-Cal changes can affect your current estate plan, as well as your plan for the future. As an experienced attorney in elder law and current in California Medi-Cal planning, Jim Ward can help you avoid the pitfalls associated with Medi-Cal. If you are planning for a sick parent or for the future of you or your spouse, please give Mr. Ward a call today to see how he can help you and your family.