When Should I Begin Medi-Cal Planning?
The Answer: TODAY
It is never too early to begin the process Medi-Cal planning for yourself, your family members, or loved ones. However, it can be too late depending on the crisis situation and any rules, laws, or regulations that may pass in the future that can prevent one for effective long-term care planning. The future of long term care in America is heading for a real crisis.
According to the 2012 Social Security Fiscal Report, 76 million Americans will turn 65 from 2007-2027 (approximately 10,000 every day). Of those, 70% will require some form of long-term care in their lifetime. That’s 53.2 million long-term care patients.
Half of those (26.6 million people) will need care that will last for more than 1 year. The 2009 National Nursing Home Survey reports that the average patient stays in a long-term care facility for approximately 30 months. Average monthly costs for a Nursing home can start from $8,000, and up to an excess of $20,000 just to get the care they need.
Our prediction is that Medi-Cal will not be around to pay for long-term care once the baby boomers start to reach the nursing home age. Studies show that the overwhelming majority of baby boomers have not saved enough for their retirement. Although unfortunate, most Baby Boomers are counting on their inheritances for their retirement, but if a catastrophic illness or disease or accident requires a parent to receive long-term care, there may not be anything left in parent’s estate to inherit.
Is It Too Late? Absolutely NOT!
Under current California law, parents can legally protect their homes and still qualify for Medi-Cal, BUT THEY MUST ACT SOON. The Medi-Cal rules must and will change. Once California implements the Federal guidelines, people will have to tap into their home equity in the form of a reverse mortgage to pay for long-term care.
That’s why making sure to plan for the future is so important, through creating estate planning and asset protection documents with languages to ensure your appointed agents can plan for your future in the event you become incapacitated.
Who Should I Talk to About Medi-Cal Planning?
Families no longer need to exhaust their hard-earned savings, and because of the change in federal laws, almost anyone can qualify under Medi-Cal’s eligibility tests, making Medi-Cal planning and Asset Protection through an attorney completely legal. The decision to make the choice of hiring a law firm to handle your family’s affairs should be made with every aspect in mind. This content is offered for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Consult one of our California Medi-Cal Planning Attorneys to receive professional advice about your specific case.
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If I get married can I lose my Medi-Cal eligibility?
In the State of California, there is no such thing as “separate property” between two married people under Medi-Cal rules. Medi-Cal counts all of a spouse’s assets when determining eligibility for a married applicant.
To qualify for Medi-Cal, the combined assets of two married people cannot exceed $119,220. A Medi-Cal Planning Attorney can help you qualify for Medi-Cal benefits without having to spend down all of your assets.
Can Medi-Cal take my inheritance?
Inheritance will be counted as income in the month it is received. If you receive an inheritance while you are receiving Medi-Cal benefits then you should contact a Medi-Cal Planning attorney as soon as possible. You or your representative will have to inform the Medi-Cal office, and your Medi-Cal coverage will stop until you have again spent down your assets to the countable limit, which is $2,000 in California. If you receive an inheritance and the amount puts you over the state’s income limits for coverage then you will not be eligible for Medi-Cal for at least that month. However, if you can properly spend down the money in the same month it is received then you will be eligible for Medi-Cal beginning in the following month. A Medi-Cal Planning Attorney can help you avoid situations like this.
Can Medi-Cal take my home after I die?
Yes. Your home can be at risk of a claim against your estate by the State of California after your death.
While you are living, your home may be an exempt asset and not counted for Medi-Cal eligibility purposes.
However, if your home is still in your name when you die and if it is subject to probate under California law, then it is counted as part of your estate.
The State of California can file a claim against your estate for the amount of the Medi-Cal benefits paid or the value of your estate, whichever is less.
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