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’s 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-Cak 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 planning attorney.