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Why Qualifying For Medi-Cal Is Important

Nursing home care can be extremely expensive. Many families are not able to afford the high cost of sending a family member to a nursing home, even for a short amount of time. In a matter of months, an entire life’s savings can be depleted.

That’s why qualifying for Medi-Cal, California’s state Medicaid program, is so important. Medi-Cal provides funding for nursing home care and other health care services that are deemed medically necessary.

Elder law attorney Gerry Kane will carefully review your financial situation and recommend a Medi-Cal planning/Medicaid planning and asset protection plan tailored to your needs and your situation. To find out more about Medi-Cal eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Find answers to some common Medi-Cal FAQs.

So Who Qualifies For Medi-Cal Assistance?

To qualify for Medi-Cal, you must meet certain requirements related to your income, assets, citizenship and residence. Here are a few questions to ask to help determine eligibility:

  • Do you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or CalWORKs benefits? If so, you automatically qualify to receive Medi-Cal assistance with your long-term care expenses.
  • Are you considered categorically needy? If you meet certain financial criteria, you can qualify for Medi-Cal, even if you have never received cash assistance from the government before.
  • Are you considered medically needy? Even if you have too much property to qualify as categorically needy, you may count as medically needy if you have very high medical expenses. However, you may be required to pay a “share of cost.” This will depend on your family’s monthly income.
  • Do you own less than $2,000 in assets? If your assets significantly exceed this, you may not qualify. (Note: if you are living in your house, the house does not count toward this asset limit. Also, if you have been hospitalized or admitted to a nursing home, your well spouse is allowed to keep tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, certain waivers may be available to allow you to keep even more.)

You May Qualify for Medicare, Even If You Don’t Qualify for Medi-Cal

Medicare and Medi-Cal are two different programs. While eligibility for Medi-Cal is highly dependent on income levels and assets, Medicare is not. If you are over 65 years old or you have a long-term disability, you will likely qualify for Medicare. If you are low-income, you may qualify for both.

However, you should be aware that Medicare doesn’t provide nearly as much long-term care services as does Medi-Cal. For instance, Medicare will only pay for up to 100 days of nursing home care.

Preserving Wealth and the Family Home

Medi-Cal is entitled to recovery for benefits paid during an individual’s lifetime. Without proper planning, this could result in a family home being lost or turned over to Medi-Cal. However, there are effective techniques, such as irrevocable trusts, that enable families to preserve the family home and other assets.

It is also important to consider the connection between eligibility for and use of veterans benefits as it relates to eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits. We can help answer your questions if you are receiving veterans benefits and are also seeking Medi-Cal/Medicaid benefits.

Contact a Lawyer for California Medi-Cal Eligibility Questions

Interested in applying for Medi-Cal benefits? Do you want to preserve as many of your personal assets as possible? Please call 818-905-6088 to schedule a no-obligation consultation regarding California Medi-Cal eligibility.