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Medi-Cal Planning: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

What is Medi-Cal? Who provides these benefits?

Medi-Cal is a state assistance program serving low-income families, seniors, persons with disabilities, children in foster care, pregnant women, and certain low-income adults. It is one of the few public programs that provide benefits for long-term care.

Who is eligible for Medi-Cal?

Typically, anyone who is considered low-income, a senior citizen, a person/s with disabilities, children and pregnant women but we can help anyone qualify for Medi-Cal benefits through our asset protection plans.

What is the least amount I can have in my account to qualify for Medi-Cal?

In order to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits, you must meet the asset limit. If you are married, the Medi-Cal asset limit is $3000 per month and for single individuals, the asset limit is $2,000 per month.

How do I determine my share of costs?

The share of cost is determined by calculating gross and net income and then applying deductions where applicable such as health insurance premiums. Long Term Care insurance also affects the share of cost as it is counted as income.  Share of cost varies as well depending on where the beneficiary resides.  For example, if a Medi-Cal recipient is in a long term care facility, his/ her maintenance need (the amount they are allowed to keep from their income) is only $35 dollars where as a person that is on Medi-Cal but is residing at home is allowed to keep $600 per month of their income.  Please keep in mind that the share of cost varies per case.

Can I protect my assets from Medi-Cal recovery?

Absolutely. It involves the purchasing, transferring, conversion and/or liquidating of assets to enable you or your loved one to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits. Medi-Cal planning will ensure that your assets are guarded from the Medi-cal recovery process.

How old do I have to be for long term care Medi-Cal?

65 and older, or permanently disabled. The ideal long term care patient in the eyes of Medi-Cal requires full time skilled nursing care and has little to no mobility.  

Is an IRA exempt in Medi-Cal eligibility?

IRA’s are exempt by Medi-Cal IF there is a minimum distribution in place.  Most financial companies require that beneficiaries withdraw from their existing accounts by the time they reach 72 years of age.  This may vary depending on the institution.  So, if someone has $200,000 dollars in an IRA that receives the required minimum distribution, the account will be exempt by Medi-Cal.  

What is a spend down?

A spend down is the deliberate act of exhausting your assets in order to qualify for Medi-Cal.

Does Medi-Cal cover nursing home costs?

Medi-Cal will cover long term care facilities that accept Medi-Cal and SOME assisted living facilities that accept Medi-Cal under the Assisted Living Waiver program.  Some participants’ will qualify for Medi-Cal with a share of cost while others will qualify with a zero share of cost.  The share of cost is like a deductible and must be met before Medi-Cal becomes responsible for payment.

Is the Medi-Cal process something I could do myself?

Certainly but it is an arduous process.  Medi-Cal’s jargon is complicated and questions can often be misunderstood making eligibility difficult for applicants as the process is time consuming and communication with the Department of Social Services can be less than effective.  

Can I obtain Medi-Cal benefits even if I have too many assets?

Through our asset protection strategies, we can help almost anyone qualify for Medi-Cal benefits.  

How long does it take to get my application approved?Medi-Cal has 45 days to approve or deny benefits from the day that the caseworker receives the file.  He or she will process the case within the allotted time.  Please note that while the 45 days is the maximum amount of time that the caseworker has with a file, this does not guarantee that the case will be complete in that timeframe.  Applicants must take into account Holidays, weekends and anything else that may arise.  Currently, Medi-Cal applications are taking a little longer than the 45 days due to the new health care reform.  The Medi-Cal program is heavily impacted as of the beginning of 2014.

How much do your Medi-Cal Planning services cost?

Quotes are determined on a case by case evaluation. Get quoted by an Attorney now by calling our offices today at (855) ELDER LAW.

Serving Our Community Since 1995

Elder Law Services of California, APLC provides the same strategic planning and legal representative of larger firms, yet in a personalized, family-like manner. Our priority is to provide the highest level of legal services and client satisfaction when representing your Medi-Cal Planning, Estate Planning, Trust Administration, or Probate cases. Above all, we understand the importance of you and your family’s financial future and legal security.

Our team of Attorneys and legal support staff have assisted thousands of different families by giving them the freedom to plan for the security of their future, while also providing peace of mind with our experienced legal advice. As our name, Elder Law Services of California, APLC serves all families in California, with convenient locations throughout Los Angeles, as well as locations in Northern California, and San Diego.

Whether you need to qualify for Medi-Cal, pay for long-term care, create an estate plan and powers of attorney, proceed a conservatorship, protect your assets, or deal with the loss of a loved one, our team is there for you every step of the way. Sadly, many families are unprepared for any significant planning for their future, so take the first step today to protect your family’s integrity.

Elder Law Services  of California, APLC.
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