During the period that immediately followed World War II, huge numbers of babies were born. This phenomenon has been dubbed the “baby boom,” and people that were born between 1946 to 1964 are often called baby boomers. If you do the math, you can see that these individuals are now either senior citizens, or they are approaching their mid-60s. This has created an unprecedented aging of the population.
Under currently existing laws, if you pay into the program sufficiently while you are working, you will qualify for Medicare as a source of health insurance when you are 65 years of age. Many experts question whether Medicare will be financially sound enough to provide benefits to the boomer generation ,but that is not the subject of this blog. Whether Medicare is around or not, there is one huge health care-related expense that is not covered under the Medicare program.
Approximately 70 percent of senior citizens will eventually need some form of care giving assistance, and many of them will reside in long-term care communities and nursing homes. The type of care that is received in these facilities is called custodial care. Medicare will only pay for a very limited amount of custodial care.
How Deep Are Your Pockets?
If you resolve to pay for care giving out-of-pocket, you better have some deep pockets. You can expect to pay at least $24,000 to $36,000 annually for care in your home. This expense can easily be much more than that. For a period of time the author was paying in excess of $10,000 per month for 24 hour care of his parents in their home. Assisted living and RCFE (residential care for the elderly / board and care) facilities start at about $3,500 per month in Riverside County, but can easily exceed $5,000 to $6,000 on a monthly basis. Skilled nursing homes in this area will generally run well over $100,000 per year.
Widely Embraced Solution
Now that we have set the stage, we can explain the title of this blog post. Medi-Cal attorneys are indeed going to be busy during the coming years as the baby boomers get older and older, because Long Term Care Medi-Cal can pay for long-term care services. It is complicated to gain eligibility, because Medi-Cal is intended for people with very sparse financial resources. This is why experienced legal assistance is invaluable if you are interested in positioning your assets with future Medi-Cal eligibility in mind.
The limit on assets for an unmarried person is is just $2000. For married couples, the limit is slightly over $120,000. However, there are many assets that are exempt, such as your personal residence, one car, retirement accounts, and household furniture, furnishings and personal items.
Though the home is exempt, Medi-Cal can seek reimbursement for Long Term Care expenses paid by Medi-Cal from the value of the home after the death of a Medi-Cal recipient. The Department of Health Care Services can also pursue recovery from any other assets in the probate estate of the Medi-Cal recipient after death. This being stated, Medi-Cal attorneys can implement strategies to protect property.
The rules are very complicated and constantly changing, so it is difficult to plan without the assistance of an expert. Most people wait until Medi-Cal is needed before they seek assistance. This is often a mistake, because there are limited options available for last minute planning and there are penalties involved with re-positioning your assets. The most prudent strategy is to plan well before the needs arise.
Obtain More Information!
As you can see, the need for elder law attorneys specializing in asset preservation and qualifying individuals for Long Term Care Medi-Cal will become greater as the boomer generation ages and the stress of the government fisc increases. You can schedule an appointment with one of our elder law attorneys by calling 951-888-1462. You can also get more information here.
Have a question? Ask Dennis.
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