Many people worry about how they would pay for long-term care in a skilled nursing facility if it becomes necessary. The average cost of long-term care in a nursing home in California is approximately $8,000 per month, which can deplete savings and other assets quickly. The good news is that it's possible to become eligible for Medi-Cal, which will cover most of the cost of care in a nursing facility. However, it is only possible with careful and often complex planning.
Protect Your Assets with Medi-Cal Planning
Medi-Cal is California's version of the federal Medicaid program. It is often thought of as a welfare service for the poor. However, you have funded Medi-Cal with your tax dollars, and you have the legal right to make use of the program under the right conditions. There are asset and income limits for the program, but there are ways of working within those rules to protect many assets. In planning for long-term care, you will need to make arrangements to protect as many assets as possible while remaining eligible for Medi-Cal so that it can cover the cost of long-term care in a nursing facility.
The term "spend down" is often used in reference to eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits, but it does not mean that you must spend all your assets before you qualify. Instead, resources can be transferred or re-titled legally and appropriately to achieve eligibility without destitution.
Contact Us for Help
At Sterzer & Associates, A Law Corporation, we approach each client's situation on an individual basis to find the best ways to preserve his or her assets and achieve eligibility for Medi-Cal. We adhere strictly to the rules for Medi-Cal while using every exception to your advantage. Some assets are automatically protected, while others can be legally transferred without a long ineligibility period. In some cases, an irrevocable trust may be appropriate to hold title to your residence or other assets. We take care to avoid any Medi-Cal estate claims to recover the cost of the program from your estate after your death.
The process of protecting your assets for Medi-Cal is filled with complexities. That is why you need the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney. An improper disbursement of assets can lead to many years of ineligibility for Medi-Cal. A proper plan is structured to minimize the impact of taxes on property, gifts and capital gains while protecting your assets to the greatest extent possible. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact Sterzer & Associates, A Law Corporation, Huntington Beach elder law attorney.