Most people are aware of the fact that Medi-Cal is California’s version of the national Medicaid program. It acts as a health care insurance safety net for people who have very limited financial resources.
As it turns out, the program also serves another purpose. Medicaid pays for most of the long-term care that is received by seniors in the United States, because Medicare does not pay for custodial care. Because of this dynamic, many Californians who were never needy ultimately seek Medi-Cal coverage.
Since Medi-Cal is a program that is only available to financially needy individuals, you may assume that you have to spend everything that you have if you want to obtain Medi-Cal coverage to pay for long-term care. In fact, this is not entirely true.
Your home is probably your most valuable asset, and in California, your home is not counted when Medi-Cal is determining your eligibility status. However, Medi-Cal does seek recovery from your estate after you pass away if you use the program to pay for long-term care, and this is something to take into consideration when it comes to home ownership.
Medi-Cal will allow for one vehicle, and your wedding ring, your engagement ring, and your heirloom jewelry would not be counted. A whole life insurance policy valued at up to $1,500 is allowed, and there is no limit to the amount of term life insurance that you can have. Plus, program evaluators would not count your personal belongings and household items.
The healthy spouse is also entitled to certain property rights. Your spouse could keep half of the countable community assets without impacting your eligibility for Medi-Cal coverage, but there is a limit. In California, the upper limit is $119,220 in 2015. This is also the minimum amount that a healthy spouse could retain, even if it is more than half of the shared community assets.
When it comes to the assets that would be counted, you don’t necessarily have to spend the resources. You could choose to give gifts to your loved ones before you apply for Medi-Cal. To do this in the ideal fashion, you would want to complete the gift giving at least 30 months before you apply, because your eligibility is delayed if you give gifts within this 30 month window.
Elder Care Consultation
We place an emphasis on elder care, and we would be happy to answer all of your questions about elder care planning and nursing home asset protection. As elder care professionals, we are dedicated to the interests of California senior citizens, and you will feel perfectly comfortable when you discuss things with us. To set up an appointment, send us a message through our contact page: San Jose CA Elder Care Managers.