There are many different myths that are floating out there about Medi-Cal and Medi-Cal planning. Elder Law Services of California wants to set things straight. Whether you are trying to do this for yourself, or for someone else, Medi-Cal and Medi-Cal planning can be an extremely difficult process with all it's confusing jargon and misconceptions. Take a look of these questions, and ask yourself if you really know how to answer these clearly.
Are applicants forced to spend their resources down to $2000?
To qualify for Medi-Cal nursing home benefits, a single applicant cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets. A community spouse (married couples) may keep up to $119,220.00 in countable assets. However, Medi-Cal considers certain assets to be "exempt" from the above countable asset requirements.
Is there a penalty period for those who transfer or gift their assets?
There is no such penalty period for the transfer or gifting of assets, if it done correctly through the steps provided by a Medi-Cal Planning attorney. This can come as a huge advantage to those who have assets, but need Medi-Cal to pay for Long Term Care. If the transfer or gifting of assets is done incorrectly, the consequences can be fatal.
Will the State of California recover any benefits that were received throughout the Medi-Cal beneficiary’s lifetime by taking the family home or any other assets that were left at the time of the death?
After the Medi-Cal beneficiary’s death, the State is allowed to make a claim to seek reimbursements against the estate of the individual who received benefits. Any estate is subject to recovery, for example properties that are placed in a Living Trust or Revocable Trust, estates in joint tenancies, tenancies in common, and life estates are all at risk for recovery. A Medi-Cal planning attorney, however, ensures the safety and protection of those estates and assets from the Medi-Cal recovery process.
Does the Nursing Home apply income of the both spouses to the share of cost?
The share of cost is, depending on your income, the amount the nursing home will cost you before Medi-Cal pays for the rest of the care. Fortunately, the at home well spouse’s income is not calculated into the share of cost.
Does Medi-Cal cover Assisted Living Housing?
There are some Assisted Living programs that are covered by Medi-Cal through a programed called the Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP). The goal for the program was to allow low-income, Medi-Cal eligible seniors and persons with disabilities, to stay or relocate to an Assisted Living home, who would otherwise need nursing home facility services. Assisted Living services can include personal care and activities for daily living, housekeeping, cooking, laundry, provide transportation, provide the administration of medications, develop an specific care plan for each resident, and many more.
Does Medi-Cal take a share of cost whenever benefits are used?
A share of cost is only taken out when the Medi-Cal beneficiary is using long-term care benefits in a nursing home facility. If the benefits are being used for things such as doctor visits, medication, etc, also known as community based Medi-Cal, a share of cost if not applied.
If I am already receiving Medi-Cal benefits, do I still need Medi-Cal planning?
Absolutely, especially those who are receiving Medi-Cal benefits and still have the family home, which is an exempt asset for Medi-Cal eligibility. Medi-Cal will try to recover assets that the beneficiary owns at the time of their death, including the family home. Elder Law Services of California, APLC always suggest comprehensive planning today, so you can have peace of mind for tomorrow.