Why would you want to qualify for Medi-Cal if you are going to be eligible for Medicare coverage when you reach the age of 65? This is a very good question, and you should certainly be aware of the answer when you are creating a plan for long-term care.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services tells us that most senior citizens will someday need living assistance. This is a likelihood, not a remote possibility. In fact, the figure stands at 70 percent.
Paying out-of-pocket is not a comfortable option for most people, because nursing homes are extremely expensive. Here in Southern California, a year in a quality nursing home can easily cost you over $100,000, and people often require care for multiple years.
Now that we have established the fact that most people will need long-term care, and it is very expensive, we can look at Medi-Cal and Medicare. The Medicare program will help with your health care costs if you qualify, but Medicare does not pay for long-term care at all. Medi-Cal does pay for nursing home care, and this is why you may want to qualify for Medi-Cal at some point in time, even if you are enrolled in the Medicare program.
When you consider what it would take to qualify for Medi-Cal, you may assume that you have to impoverish yourself, because Medi-Cal is a need-based program. While it is true that there is a $2000 limit on countable assets, if you take the right steps in advance, impoverishment can be avoided.
First off, some assets that you own are not considered to be countable. Your home is not a countable asset, and there is no equity limit in California. Personal effects and household belongings are not counted, and you can retain ownership of one vehicle. Your wedding ring and your engagement ring would not be counted, and if you have heirloom jewelry, it would not be counted either.
Plus, if your spouse is remaining at home as you enter a long-term care facility, he or she can keep half of the shared countable assets, but there is a limit of $119,220 in 2015.
When it comes to countable assets, you could give resources to your children or other relatives before you apply for Medi-Cal, but you have to complete your gift giving at least 30 months before you apply if you want to obtain immediate coverage.
As you can see, it is possible to qualify for Medi-Cal without completely impoverishing yourself and your family.
Medi-Cal Planning Report
To learn more about how you may be able to qualify for Medi-Cal without losing a great deal in the process, download our special report. The report is free, and you can access your copy here: Los Angeles Medi-Cal Planning.
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