Medi-Cal is California’s version of the Medicaid program that provides health care insurance for people with very limited financial resources. If you are going to qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65, and you will be retiring with a reasonable store of assets, you may feel as though the Medi-Cal program is not relevant to you.
In reality, the Medi-Cal program is relied upon by a very significant percentage of seniors, because Medicare will not pay for long-term care. Long-term care is very expensive, and it can absorb all or most of your savings if you have to pay out-of-pocket. Medi-Cal will assist with these expenses, and this is why Medi-Cal should be on your radar.
To qualify for Medi-Cal to pay for long-term care, you must be able to prove that you have very limited financial resources, so there are parameters in place. The asset limit for an individual is just $2,000, but there are quite a few assets that are not considered to be countable.
Your home is not a countable asset, and one vehicle that is used for transportation would not be counted. You can have unlimited term life insurance, and you can have a whole life insurance policy that is valued at up to $1,500.
Heirloom jewelry, wedding rings, engagement rings, household goods, and personal effects are not counted, and burial plots are totally excluded.
Reach of the Medi-Cal Program
If you apply for Medi-Cal while you are in possession of countable assets that exceed the limits, the state would not take your assets. You would simply be deemed ineligible.
Many people divest themselves of assets prior to applying for coverage. This is called a Medi-Cal spend down.
You have to act in advance if you want to spend down, because in California, there is a 30 month look-back. Your spend down must be completed at least 30 months before you apply for coverage, or your application will be denied at first.
Though the state will not take your assets while you are living, if you use Medi-Cal to pay for long-term care, the state would seek recovery from your estate after you pass away. This is one of the reasons why intelligent and informed planning is essential if you want to obtain Medi-Cal eligibility without losing anything in the process.
Free Elder Care Consultation
Given the state of long-term care costs, Medi-Cal is going to be important for a very significant percentage of senior citizens. If you have questions, we can provide you with answers.
Our firm places an emphasis on elder care matters, and we have an experienced staff that is standing by to assist you. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a message through this link to set up an appointment: San Jose CA Medi-Cal Planning.