The Medi-Cal program is a government health insurance program that is intended for financially needy individuals. If you have been on solid financial footing throughout your life, you may feel as though Medi-Cal will never be important to you.
In reality, Medi-Cal is quite relevant to a significant percentage of senior citizens, because the program will pick up the tab for custodial care. This is the form of care that you would receive if you ever reside in a nursing home or assisted living community.
Though you will become eligible for Medicare coverage at the age of 65 gift you have worked for any length of time, Medicare does not pay for help with your activities of daily living.
Assuming that you will never incur nursing home expenses because you have tried to live a healthy life is not a very good idea when you examine the facts. No less than 70 percent of people reaching the age of 65 on this day will eventually need custodial care according to a government agency.
Debunking a Misconception
Some people have heard that the state will take your assets if you apply for Medi-Cal to pay for long-term care. In fact, this is a myth. The state does not proactively take your assets if you apply for Medi-Cal.
Elders typically qualify for Medi-Cal through a process called a spend down. For most people, this would involve giving assets to their loved ones before they apply for coverage. So yes, your personally held assets are diminished, but if you do things correctly they will get into the hands of your family members.
Without careful planning with the assistance of an experienced and qualified elder law attorney, you generally cannot obtain coverage by giving away assets immediately after you find out that you need nursing home care, because there is a 30 month look-back in California. Your eligibility will be delayed if you give gifts within this 30 month look back unless done correctly.
The duration of the penalty would be based on the amount of the gifts that gave. For example, if you give away enough to pay for one year nursing home care, your eligibility will be delayed by one year.
Now that you have the background information that you need, we can look at the source of the notion that the state will take your assets if you use Medi-Cal to pay for long-term care.
You cannot qualify for Medi-Cal if you have more than $2000 in countable assets in your own name, but your home is not considered to be a countable asset. So, if you qualify for Medi-Cal, you wouldn’t have anything for the state to take except for your home.
The Medi-Cal program is required to seek reimbursement from the estate of anyone who used Medi-Cal to pay for long-term care. If you were to pass away while you were in direct personal possession of your home, a Medi-Cal lien could be placed on the home.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
If you take the right steps at the right time, you can qualify for Medi-Cal as an elder and preserve assets for the benefit of your loved ones. Our firm would be glad to help you put a plan in place, and you can send us a message through this page to set up a consultation: Sacramento CA Elder Law Attorneys.