Santa Cruz Medi-Cal Planning
Medi-Cal Planning in Aptos
In most states, the federal and state-funded healthcare system is referred to as Medicaid, not to be confused with Medicare. However, California is a whole lot different than the other 49 states in the U.S. and they have named their system Medi-Cal, and this is the only state that bears the name. While Medicare is basically the same everywhere in the country, Medicaid differs between states. So if you were to look up rules and regulations for Medicaid in New Jersey, you would find information that is inaccurate for the state of California.
There are just two main reasons why we use Medi-Cal planning here at the elder law offices of James A. Ward. These are to first, have Medi-Cal cover the costs of any in-home care needs a person may have under the IHSS program and second, to have Medi-Cal cover the costs of long-term nursing home placement, which are at an average very steep. Collectively, hundreds of our clients have saved millions of dollars over the years in nursing home and long-term placement care costs.
Medicare is the same everywhere you go, but it was not created to cover long-term costs of care. In fact, it was only meant to cover up to “the first 100 days” of facility placement and then after those days are up, the patient is on their own. Even worse, nursing home facilities will themselves try to limit the number of covered days to around only 20 or so. This is a very short coverage period for those who need long-term and 24 hour care.
We did have one client who spent over 17 years in a nursing home, and it was covered by Medi-Cal because Medi-Cal is set up to cover patients and their nursing home needs for as long as the individual qualifies for the program. Now, most elders will not require nearly this long. The average stay in a nursing home right now is around two and a half years. But these two and a half year stays can rapidly drain a family’s life savings, since the average cost is around 12,000 dollars per month. Two and a half years at 12,000 dollars per month adds up to a big chunk of change that most people just can’t pay out of pocket. This money could be and probably was intended to be a lifeline for their children and grandchildren. Don’t let those funds slip away from your family.
What happens to the spouse who can only earn so much on their own or who cannot work at all if all of the savings have been depleted? And how will you ever be able to replace the money you had planned on passing on to your children and grandchildren after you die if all of it has been spent on nursing home care costs? We can help preserve those assets at our law offices in Aptos and make sure that your spouse will not be left in the dust or your progeny left empty-handed. We want to make sure that your money and assets go to the person or people it was intended for. Medi-Cal will pay for all of your costs of care and your assets will be preserved if you come to us in time.
You may be saying to yourself, “We have accumulated so much wealth-multiple residences and cars, and millions in savings and so on-how can we possibly protect all of these assets and therefore our children and grandchildren? Although this area of the law is complicated and the rules are complex, Medi-Cal will allow for it if the process is done correctly and all of the documentation is clear, valid, and legal. Medi-Cal gets pretty specific about which assets are “exempt” and which are “allowable” and the amount of time that must pass after the transfer of assets for you to qualify. But this is our specialty-we do it every day. The law will allow for the transfer of assets if it is handled in the right way. Medi-Cal has some very complex and hard to navigate rules. It is easy to get turned around and lost in the web of paperwork if you try to do it on your own. In Aptos, it is best to hire a serious professional to go through the process with you and make sure everything is done just right.
At James A. Ward, we will take a close look at your timeshares, rental properties, incomes, insurances, residences, automobiles, and annuities in order to get a comprehensive view of what needs to be done. We will create a plan with you to build protection around these assets for you and your beneficiaries.
A lot of the time, people pay money out of pocket for nursing home costs when they really don’t need to, all because they just didn’t know any better. One family we had spent around a million dollars to keep their loved one cared for because they had no idea that Medi-Cal would have paid the price for them. I could have saved them up to 950,000 dollars if they had come to me in time.
Every case is different. If you live in Aptos and wish to discuss your options and alternatives, give us a call. We offer free initial consultations. If the timing isn’t right yet but you want to be able to take advantage of the benefits of Medi-Cal when it is, make sure that your estate planning documentation is laid out properly now with an eye toward future elder care.
Don’t just sit back and assume that everything will be just fine. A trust just isn’t enough and this isn’t a time or place to make assumptions safely. Your current estate plan may not work, as is the case for many by the time it is needed. It will be too late to transfer assets and they will just be lost in one way or another.