Answers To Your Medi-Cal Questions
A vast majority of U.S. citizens will need long-term nursing home care or other long-term medical assistance at some point in their lives. Most will have difficulty covering the cost of such care without some form of public assistance such as that available through Medi-Cal.
Gerry Kane at the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane is sensitive to the needs of families that are preparing to ensure eligibility for Medi-Cal and other similar programs. Many are concerned about losing their family homes and other property to the state as a consequence of receiving public aid.
We understand your concerns, and we are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of Medi-Cal planning and other kinds of estate planning. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable Encino lawyer to discuss Medi-Cal FAQ: 818-905-6088.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Much Does Nursing Home Care Usually Cost? Long-term care in California is quite expensive. On average, nursing home residents pay between $4,500 and $8,000 per month. This is for standard care only. If you require significant medical assistance, you may end up paying more than $25,000 each month. This is why qualifying for Medi-Cal assistance is so critical. With Medi-Cal, you will only have to pay a fraction of the total cost.
- Will Receiving Medi-Cal Benefits Result In A Claim Against My Estate? Medi-Cal does attempt to recover assets, including houses, vehicles and other personal property owned at the time of the beneficiary’s death. Medi-Cal has the right to recover up to the total amount of benefits received during the beneficiary’s life. Fortunately, strategic Medi-Cal planning can prevent the loss of your home and other property. Typically, the best way to avoid an estate claim is to leave no assets in the estate. This can often be done through certain trusts, irrevocable life estates, occupancy contracts and other methods.
- Are Past Nursing Home Expenses Reimbursable By Medi-Cal?: Medi-Cal benefits are reimbursed only for the three months immediately preceding your approved benefits application, provided the beneficiary was eligible for benefits during those three months. We can also explain the possibility of filing a “3100 court petition” or pursuing an “administrative fair hearing” to increase the limit of eligibility and obtain retroactive payments.
- Can I Keep My Assets And Still Be Eligible? It depends. You may keep your home, automobile and various other exempt assets that qualify. We can help you determine what assets you can keep to still be eligible for benefits.
- What Happens If I Make A Large Gift Right Before Applying For Medi-Cal? This could potentially backfire on you. If you attempt to reduce your assets by giving a significant amount away, it may disqualify you for Medi-Cal benefits for a certain length of time (known as the “look back” period). Typically, the more you give away, the longer you will remain ineligible to your nursing home care paid for by Medi-Cal. However, under certain circumstances, gifting can be very advantageous. Before making any gifts, consult our lawyer.
- What About Transferring Assets To My Spouse? In some cases, it may be beneficial for you to legally transfer your assets to your spouse if you are entering a nursing home. Our firm has filed many petitions with the court to transfer such assets between spouses. However, you need to be aware that your spouse’s non-exempt assets need to fall below a certain level. This is the tricky part, and we encourage you to set up a consultation with us to learn more.
- Will Any Money I Earn Go To My Spouse? It depends. If a spouse in a nursing home earns any income, it may go to his or her well spouse, or it may go toward the “share of cost” that he or she is expected to pay toward nursing home care. Likewise, an inheritance or other money that the well spouse receives may make the ill spouse ineligible for Medi-Cal coverage unless handled carefully. Let our firm explain the minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance (MMMNA), 3100 petitions and other issues that can make a significant difference.
- When Is The Best Time To Start Planning? Ideally, you should start planning for Medi-Cal as early as possible. The earlier you start exploring your options, the more likely it is that you will be able to accomplish your goals while preserving your assets. However, it’s never too late to consult a lawyer and learn about Medi-Cal benefits. We can assist you in creating a Medi-Cal plan in a short-notice situation or emergency. In fact, many of our clients fall into this category.
Contact Our Encino, California, Attorney For More Answers
For answers to more frequently asked questions about Medi-Cal and the state’s right of recovery, please contact our Encino law firm to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation with the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane. You may also call 818-905-6088.