Whether you are developing a Medi-Cal plan, or are curious about how Medi-Cal applies to you, you may have come across a number of myths and popular misconceptions about the program. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid, and like Medicaid programs in other states, there are specific rules and laws that apply. While these laws are very complicated and hard to understand, you shouldn’t believe some of the more popular misperceptions about the program, and you should always talk to an experienced and qualified elder law attorney if you have specific questions.
Myth 1: I can’t own anything if I want to use Medi-Cal to pay for my nursing home.
While Medi-Cal does require you to meet specific asset limits in order to qualify for the program, those limits do not require you to have no possessions or give away everything you have. Further, you can still have an income and apply for Medi-Cal, but your income must be less than the legally allowable amount. The amount of assets and income differs for married and unmarried persons.
Myth 2: I can give my property to my spouse or family and apply for Medi-Cal.
Possibly, but it isn’t very easy. One of the Medi-Cal criteria looks at how much you’ve given away in gifts over the past several years. It also depends upon the type of asset that is given away. If that amount exceeds the allowable amount and involves assets that are considered “countable”, you probably will not qualify for Medi-Cal. An experienced and qualified Medi-Cal attorney will be able to help you navigate the maze of Medi-Cal laws.
Myth 3: I can’t use Medi-Cal because I’m already on private pay in a nursing home.
While it’s best to create a Medi-Cal plan as soon as possible, even people who are currently on a private pay plan in an extended care or nursing home facility can develop a Medi-Cal plan and apply for the program.
While there are non-lawyers out there who will self-proclaim to be Medi-Cal experts, only an experienced and qualifed elder law attorney has the necessary credentials and abilities to taylor a plan for you and not upon the financial needs of the so-called experts, many of whom have an ulterior motive of selling you a financial product which will pay them a large commission.