Watsonville Medi-Cal Planning
What is Medi-Cal? It is federal and state funded medical insurance specifically for Californians. It is the same as Medicaid in other states, only the rules are different. The rules for Medicaid are different for each state as well. Medicare is the same everywhere and is a different plan entirely. Researching the laws for Medicaid in Alabama will get you information that is not correct for when you are looking at Medi-Cal. The rules of Medi-Cal are not applicable anywhere else, only in California. We practice Elder Law, and there are two reasons why we use Medicaid planning; number one is to have Medi-Cal pay for in-home care using the IHSS program, and number two is to have Medi-Cal pay for the high costs of nursing home stays. Hundreds of our clients have together saved millions of dollars by planning with us.
With Medicare, facilities often try to limit coverage for around 20 days or so even though the program is designed to cover up to 100 days. It just isn’t a long term care option, although many people think that it is. On the other hand, Medi-Cal can pay for the expensive nursing home costs indefinitely if you have planned properly. In one case, a client of ours has been staying in a nursing home for more than 17 years. It is true that most elders do not require that long of a stay, but what if your loved one needs to be placed for three or four years? That is still above the national average, but it is possible.
Medi-Cal works with many of the major providers operating in California, including Anthem Blue Shield, Kaiser, and Molina. There are hundreds of providers available and it is said to be fairly easy to find one that will work with you and Medi-Cal. Funded through state and federal taxes, Medi-Cal was built to allow participants to hold onto assets and safe harbor allowances, as well as income. Also, you can have a decent income and still qualify for Medi-Cal; you don’t have to be completely broke. With Medi-Cal, your assets are categorized as either “countable” or “exempt”. Countable assets have value towards the program and this list is much longer than the list of exempt assets. These may be subject to some cost recovery after you pass on. Exempt assets are the ones that you are allowed to keep such as your home, an automobile, or a funeral fund.
Medi-Cal looks back over thirty months to see whether or not you have recently transferred any assets to someone else, so it is not wise to do this. You could be disqualified and have to go through a waiting period if you try to protect your assets this way. The regulations and rules associated and implemented in Medi-Cal are strict and often confusing. It is easy to get lost if you are inexperienced. Planning for Medi-Cal before you need it is highly recommended, and this is why. An experienced Elder Law attorney can help you navigate this big, confusing system. Scrambling for answers after you already need Medi-Cal Takes a big chunk of time and causes a whole lot of grief. It can also disrupt your life.
In Watsonville, staying in a nursing home can cost thousands of dollars per month and can drain your life savings quickly, leaving nothing for your spouse, family, or heirs. Maybe the nursing home costs could take money away from your children or grandchildren. If all of your money was put into nursing home costs, what would happen to your surviving spouse after you pass away? How would you replace the assets you plan to pass on to your heirs? The answer is you wouldn’t. Come see us before it’s too late because we can help you plan for Medi-Cal and have them pay the costs of nursing home placement and protect your income and assets and those of your family.
How is protecting these assets possible when you have more than one home and over a million in savings? Now that is a good question. The law becomes pretty complicated here and the rules of Medi-Cal become complex. California law will allow it, though, if everything’s done properly. Don’t risk preparing by yourself! We will review all of your assets, including; your home, land, car, retirement income, life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, investments, and rental properties. Doing this will give us an overall look at how we can best protect these assets for you and your family.
People need to know about Medi-Cal, but many don’t. Some people needlessly spend thousands every month keeping their loved one in a facility. They just don’t know that Medi-Cal can save them those costs. Coming to us first and planning ahead is a good way to save possibly over a million dollars. Each case is different, and if you are not ready yet that is okay. In the future, you will likely need someone to go to to make sure that all of your ducks are in a row. Check out your estate planning documents. Were they prepared with an eye toward future elder care needs? They should have been. Even if your loved one becomes incapacitated and cannot sign legal documents for themselves anymore, we can still change things later.
When you plan ahead with a professional attorney specializing in Elder Law, you have the benefit of more time to weigh your options. You get to shop around for good, quality care facilities instead of just throwing spaghetti at the wall when the time comes. You can feel secure in the decisions you have made with your loved one rather than making them all for them and hoping they are good enough. Planning with an Elder Law attorney also makes the process of applying for Medi-Cal much easier; which is a benefit, because it can be a rather long and complicated process when you go it alone. When you are ready, I invite you to call us for a free consultation to see if there is anything we can help you with.