They say that aging is not always easy, and there are certainly some serious things to take into consideration when you are looking ahead toward your elder years. Most of the senior citizens in the United States will eventually need help with their day-to-day needs. Long-term care is very expensive, and Medicare will not pay for it. This is why Medi-Cal planning is important to many people here in California.
You are probably aware of the fact that Medi-Cal is California’s version of the national Medicaid program. Medi-Cal does pay for long-term care, so it is the solution for many seniors who need assistance with their activities of daily living.
If you want to qualify for Medi-Cal to pay for long-term care, you should ideally plan ahead in advance if you have to give gifts to your loved ones to stay within the countable asset limit of $2000 for individual applicants. Married couples have higher limits. Across the country, there is a five-year look-back. If you give away assets within five years of applying for Medicaid, your eligibility could be delayed while you serve a penalty.
Here in California, we are fortunate for the time being. Though the look-back is supposed to eventually be uniform around the country, at the present time, the look-back in California is 30 months. Except with very careful planning, you have to complete your gift giving at least 30 months before you apply for coverage if you want to obtain eligibility right away. Experienced and qualified elder law attorneys can advise you on how to correctly make transfers within the 30 month window and how you may be able to correct improper transfers that may have been made within 30 months.
Better Late Than Never
Without question, if you complete your gift giving at least 30 months before you apply for Medi-Cal, you are in the ideal position. However, even if you did not plan ahead in the optimal manner, there are steps that you can take to mitigate your losses.
One thing to understand is the fact that your spouse can retain ownership of a significant store of assets if you are married and you are applying for Medi-Cal. Your spouse could retain ownership of your home, and the healthy spouse is entitled to a Community Spouse Resource Allowance. This allowance is equal to half of the shared countable assets, but there is a limit of $119,220 in 2015. The minimum that a healthy spouse can keep, even if it is more than half, is the same, $119,220.
If you do not need long-term care immediately, but you decide that you would like to aim toward eligibility, you could potentially purchase long-term care insurance that would protect you during the 30 month look-back. However, unlike health insurance policies, long term care policies can deny coverage based upon preexisting medical conditions.
Medi-Cal Planning Report
We have a valuable resource that you may want to access if you would like to learn more about Medi-Cal planning. Our firm has prepared an in-depth report on the subject, and you can access the report through this website free of charge.
To get your copy of the report, visit this page and follow the simple instructions: Sacramento CA Medi-Cal Planning.