If you have health insurance through your job or through your own personal relationship with an insurer, you may naturally assume that Medi-Cal is something that is not relevant to you. Plus, if you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65, you will have health insurance as a senior citizen.
While the above makes sense, the Medi-Cal program may well be important to you when you reach the latter stages of your life. This is because of the fact that Medicare does not pay for custodial care, which is the type of care that nursing homes and assisted living communities provide.
Medi-Cal does pay for long-term care, and the majority of senior citizens who are residing California nursing homes are enrolled in the program. Many of them were never financially needy. To qualify for Medi-Cal, people typically give gifts to their loved ones before they apply.
Medi-Cal and Home Ownership
Since Medi-Cal is a program that is only available to people who can demonstrate a significant level of financial need, there is a $2000 limit on countable assets. Fortunately, some things that you may own are not countable.
Your home is not considered to be a countable asset, and this is huge for homeowners. Plus, Medi-Cal is California’s version of the national Medicaid program. In other states in the union, the home is not a countable asset, but there is an equity limit. Here in California, there is no equity limit at all.
The fact that you can qualify for Medi-Cal while you are in possession of your home can be viewed as a positive, but you do have to be aware of Medi-Cal recovery efforts. If you pass away while you are still in direct personal possession of your home after you utilized Medi-Cal to pay for your long-term care, a Medi-Cal lien can be placed on the home. Once it is sold, the proceeds could be absorbed by the Medi-Cal program.
To prevent this, you could divest yourself of direct personal possession of the home before you apply for Medi-Cal. However, you have to complete your gift giving at least 30 months before you apply for Medi-Cal coverage if you want to obtain eligibility right away.
This 30 month look-back is also a benefit that California holds over other states. Throughout the rest of the country, the gift giving must be completed at least five years before the application is submitted.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
All of the Medi-Cal rules and regulations can be confusing, and this is understandable. If you would like to sit down and discuss the details with a licensed professional, our firm would be glad to assist you.
We offer no obligation consultations, and we can answer all of your questions and help you take action if you decide to go forward. To set up an appointment, send us a message through this page: Los Angeles CA Elder Law Attorneys.