There can be some confusion between the Medicaid program and the Medicare program, and in California, Medi-Cal enters the picture. We will endeavor to provide some answers in this blog post.
Need-Based Health Insurance
Medicaid is a need-based health insurance program. It is jointly administered by each state government along with the federal government. The individual states have some leeway with regard to the exact way that the Medicaid program is administered.
In California, the Medicaid program is called Medi-Cal.
If you can prove that you have sufficient financial need, you may be able to qualify for Medi-Cal coverage.
Medicare is also a government health insurance program, but eligibility is not based on financial need. You obtain eligibility for Medicare through the accumulation of retirement credits. You accrue these credits when you pay taxes throughout your working career.
Elder Law Implications
We practice within the areas of estate planning and elder law. One of the most attention-getting elder law concerns of the current era is the matter of long-term care.
Most people are going to need living assistance at some point in time. In fact, by some estimates, 70 percent of seniors will someday need help with their activities of daily living.
Medicare will not pay for long-term care. Help with your day-to-day needs is considered to be custodial care rather than medical care or convalescent care. Medicare does not cover custodial care.
Nursing homes and assisted living communities are very expensive, and in-home care is also rather costly. It is difficult for most people to absorb these expenses out-of-pocket.
Medi-Cal does cover long-term care. As a result, this program is very relevant to many senior citizens, even those who retired with Medicare coverage.
Qualifying for Medi-Cal can be challenging because of the asset and income limits. The first thought that may come to your mind may be that you will simply give assets to your children if you find out that you need long-term care. However, this is easier said than done, because there is a 30 month look-back period in California.
In some cases, you must complete the gift giving at least 30 month before you apply for coverage. If eligibility workers find that you have given away assets within this 30 month window, your eligibility for Medi-Cal coverage may be denied. There are numerous planning opportunities that can avoid the look back period. However, such planning is typically done with the assistance of an experienced and qualified elder law attorney.
Because of the look-back, you must act with foresight if you want everything to fall into place at the right time. Working with the right attorney is the place to start.
Medi-Cal Planning Consultation
You probably have a lot of questions if you are interested in qualifying for Medi-Cal without losing anything in the process. We can answer these questions and help you devise a plan if you are ready to take action.
To set up a consultation, simply call our office.
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