Medi-Cal & Elder Law

Long-term health care (LTC) expenses are tolling for most seniors. If you aren’t prepared to cover these costs, you will most likely turn to Medi-Cal for assistance. Getting approved for Medi-Cal is challenging and can be almost impossible if you do not plan ahead. This lack of planning can cause you to risk your hard-earned assets. Even worse, if you try to conceal those assets, you may end up facing legal consequences for fraud that could result in prison. With proper planning, Medi-Cal can still help.

Medi-Cal May Be Your Only Hope for Help

The older population (65 and older) in the United States is ever-growing and is expected to surpass the younger generation (age 21 and younger) for the first time in history by the year 2050. Long-term care (LTC) in the United States will continue to become necessary and important as the average life expectancy steadily increases. Experts anticipate the average cost of LTC across the nation to exceed $150,000 a year per person receiving care by 2036.

The length of stay on Medicare is at 2.5 and this puts the future average LTC bill at almost $400,000. While Medicare may cover most seniors’ health-care related expenses, it ceases to cover LTC costs except under very specific circumstances for a limited amount of time. Unless you have previously purchased a LTC rider for an additional cost, most basic health insurance plans will also exclude LTC expenses. For the majority of all seniors that count on LTC, Medi-Cal is their only option.


Qualifying for Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal will only cover LTC costs if you qualify for benefits. Medi-Cal imposes a “countable resources” limit that applicants cannot exceed and will sometimes impose an income limit. Medi-Cal is strict about these limits because of their mission to help low income applicants.

The current income limit is based directly off the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in the geographic area that an applicant lives and will adjust each year. While this income limit may inhibit some seniors that are on a fixed income, this is not usually where the issues with applications lie. Most applicants are denied due to the extremely low “countable resources” limit. Many states have a “countable resources” limit that is as low as $2,000 for an individual applicant. This issue has caused applicants to conceal resources, and therefore being subject to fraud charges.


The Wrong Way to Approach Medi-Cal Planning

A five-year look-back period is used by Medi-Cal to penalize applicants that may have been involved in any asset transfers that were made for less than fair market value during the five-year period prior to applying for benefits.

This look-back period can lead to applicants hiding assets when applying for Medi-Cal. In doing this, any assets—including borrowed money, unclaimed income, new property and more—that are hidden can lead to the applicant being charged with health care fraud and money laundering counts. Even if you aren’t concealing assets there are other ineffective ways to plan

The Right Way to Approach Medi-Cal Planning

In most cases, attempting to hide or cover up assets is unnecessary. Legitimate Medi-Cal planning strategies can help you save money and avoid legal consequences. Rules for Medi-Cal vary by state, but all states exempt certain assets from the applicant’s “countable resources.” With the knowledge of these rules, you may be able to convert non-exempt assets into exempt assets.

Proper Medi-Cal planning with Cross Law APC. can help you protect your assets that you have spent your whole life accumulating, while still qualifying for Medi-Cal. The earlier you incorporate Medi-Cal planning into your estate plan, the better the likelihood that you will be approved for Medi-Cal benefits. Contact Cross Law APC today to begin Medi-Cal planning and to protect your hard-earned assets in case you may need long-term care down the road.

Reach out to Cross Law APC today to learn more about Medi-Cal planning and if you qualify for Medi-Cal benefits.

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