When it comes to Medi-Cal planning, there’s a lot of misinformation that circulates. Here are a few common myths we have heard:
- Medicare will cover my nursing home expenses, so I don’t need to worry about Medi-Cal. This is not true – – Medicare only covers very few, limited long term care expenses. So, unless you have long-term care insurance or can afford to pay for your care out-of-pocket, you’ll need to find out about Medi-Cal and other public benefits.
- In order to qualify for Medi-Cal, I need to impoverish myself. This is not necessarily so. Some assets are considered “countable”, and some that are considered “noncountable”. You can own certain property and still be Medi-Cal-eligible. Examples include your personal residence, vehicle, personal property and household goods, assets that can’t be converted to cash, and more. Proper Medi-Cal planning can help you qualify without impoverishing yourself or your family.
- If I put all my assets in a living trust, I’ll be eligible for Medi-Cal. Simply funding assets into your Revocable Living Trust does not make them “noncountable”. They’re still subject to the same eligibility rules. However, an elder law attorney who is experienced in Medi-Cal planning can help you find strategies for qualifying for Medi-Cal without losing all your property.
- If I put my property in my spouse’s name, I’ll be eligible for Medi-Cal. If you’re married, then, broadly speaking, both spouse’s assets are taken into account when Medi-Cal eligibility is calculated. So, just signing your property over to your spouse won’t do anything to help you with Medi-Cal eligibility.
Medi-Cal is a complicated system, and the rules can change frequently. What’s more, because each person’s situation is different, a Medi-Cal planning strategy that worked for a friend or family member may not apply to you. To make sure you’re following the best possible route, it’s a good idea to get the help of an experienced and qualified elder law attorney who regularly assists clients with Medi-Cal planning.
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