CA Estate Planning Blog

Friday, January 16, 2015

Concerns When Applying for Medi-Cal

Can I Apply for Medi-Cal?

Open enrollment for Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) is open through the spring.  During the first month of enrollment 216,423 state residents signed up for Medi-Cal. The program is designed to help those with low income (having less than $2,000 in liquid assets), elderly and disabled individuals pay for health care, including long term care. People can sign up for Medi-Cal online, through the mail or in person. Medi-Cal pays for the expenses of approximately 65% of the residents in California nursing homes.  A major part of our practice is to help structure our client’s resources so they can qualify for Medi-Cal and be relieved of the burden of paying for long term care.

California has expanded access to Medi-Cal, so more people will qualify. Eligibility for the new expanded Medi-Cal is based on income and family size. The program provides health insurance and long-term care coverage to 6.5 million children, their parents, elderly and disabled people in California.

Personal assets not considered when determining whether you qualify for Medi-Cal coverage include:

• Your primary home;
• One vehicle;
• Household goods and personal belongings;
• Life-insurance policy with a face value of $1,500 per person; and
• Prepaid burial plan (unlimited if irrevocable or up to $1,500 if revocable) and burial plot.

Those who are doing proactive Medi-Cal planning need to understand that there is a five year “look back” period when they can “spend down” assets in order to qualify. This can be done by paying for certain kinds of debts or expenses or transferring assets in a way acceptable to Medi-Cal. Giving property away for less than it is worth will not help because this will cause you to be subjected to a penalty period before your benefits start.

Although the sign up period may be now, you probably need to plan ahead to qualify for Medi-Cal. We are familiar with all the requirements, regulations and laws that concern Medi-Cal eligibility and have experience helping many clients qualify for the program. We are available to help those living in Orange County, California and the surrounding areas qualify for Medi-Cal. Contact the Medi-Cal and elder law attorneys at OC Wills & Trust Attorneys by calling us at (949) 288-3598 today.


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