Medi-Cal Planning For Skilled Nursing Home Care in California
Posted Oct 11 2010 8:04pm
On e of the greatest fears of elderly Americans is that they may require nursing home care. This not only means a great loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial price. Depending on location and level of care, nursing homes cost between $35,000 and $150,000 per year.
Most people end up paying for nursing home care out of their savings until they run out. Then they can qualify for Medi-Cal to pick up the cost. However, with careful planning, whether in advance or in response to an unanticipated need for care, you can protect your estate for your spouse or children.
**Proper California Medi-Cal planning covers the following three areas:
1. Eligibility Planning – to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits;
2. Income Planning – to reduce or potentially eliminate a Medi-Cal beneficiary’s monthly “share of cost” co-payment; and
3. Estate Recovery Planning – to potentially reduce or eliminate Medi-Cal recovery against the Medi-Cal beneficiary’s estate.
For married couples, a Court Petition pursuant to California Probate Code Section 3100 is often a valuable tool used to significantly increase the standard Medi-Cal eligibility limit, reduce or possibly eliminate the “share of cost” co-payment and to transfer all assets to the Medi-Cal beneficiary’s spouse thereby eliminating potential Medi-Cal recovery.
For single individuals, numerous “conversion” strategies (which turn otherwise countable assets into exempt asset categories) and “spend down” strategies are available to quickly qualify an individual for Medi-Cal benefits.
Unfortunately, many people are misinformed about the eligibility criteria Medi-Cal uses to determine eligibility. Such misinformation is likely due to the ever changing and complicated Medi-Cal regulations. Despite what you might have heard, you do not have to be destitute in order to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits. With the guidance of a knowledgeable elder law attorney it is possible to implement various planning techniques in order to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits.