Riverside Medi-Cal planning lawyers help people prepare for challenges they may face when they reach their twilight years. Though elder law attorneys address other matters, nursing home asset protection is among the most popular services that the general seeks from elder law attorneys. This may come as a surprise, because many people assume that Medicare will pay for long-term care. This does make a lot of sense, since the program exists to help with medical costs that seniors typically face.
In reality, the Medicare program will not pay for the custodial care that you would receive in a nursing home or assisted living facility. This is something that everyone should take to heart, because it will impact most of us. Once you celebrate your 65th birthday, there is a 70 percent likelihood that you will require caregivers to assist you with your activities of daily living at some point in time.
According to the state of California, the average cost for a nursing home in the State is almost $9,000 per month. The monthly charge for an assisted living facility or residual care for the elderly (board and care) is also quite expensive, with costs ranging from $3,500 – $7,500. If the person needs care in a memory unit, the charges can be even greater. As you can see, if you have to pay for multiple years in one of these facilities, the costs could consume everything that you have always intended to leave your loved ones after you pass away.
A Looming Threat
Some people that need limited assistance can live with a good bit of independence in an assisted living community. However, a significant percentage of senior citizens will require a level of care that can only be received in a nursing home. This is largely due to the ubiquity of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that approximately 45 percent of people who are 85 years of age and older have contracted the disease. This segment of the population grew faster than any other between 2000 and 2010, and it is statistically likely that you will live into your eighties once you reach the age of 67.
The Medi-Cal Solution
Now that the stage has been set, we can get to the crux of what Riverside elder law lawyers do for clients that are concerned about future long-term care costs. Medi-Cal is another government health insurance program that is jointly administered by the state government and the federal government. This program will pay for long-term care if you can gain eligibility, but there is a very modest asset limit.
The asset limit for Medi-Cal eligibility is just $2000 from unmarried individuals, but there are a number of things that do not count. Your home is not considered to be a countable asset, and there is no equity limit in the state of California at the present time. Though the home is not considered to be a countable asset, Medi-Cal can seek reimbursement through the sale of your home after you pass away. In most circumstances, your retirement plans, such as IRAs and 401Ks, would also be consider exempt resources that do not count toward the eligibility limits. However, there are strategies that can be implemented to prevent this. And if your spouse is still residing in the home, there would be no Medi-Cal collection efforts after your passing.
Your household furnishings and furniture, clothing and jewelry are also not countable assets. One vehicle can be retained, and unlimited term life insurance is allowed along with $1500 in cash value of whole life insurance. You can also have a pre-paid burial plans are excluded.
Medi-Cal and Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Planning
As Riverside Medi-Cal Planning lawyers, our law firm can assist you with putting together an asset preservation plan that will allow you to retain a large portion of your assets while still qualifying for eligibility for Long Term Care Medi-Cal to pay for skilled nursing home. If you are a veteran who served during a time of war, we can also speak with you about eligibility for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits, which can help pay for care in the home and in an assisted living facility.
Listen to a Free Weninar!
We have shared some of the basics here. If you would like to learn more, we invite you to listen to our webinars which we conduct on a monthly basis. You can click this link to see schedule of our upcoming webinars.
Have a question? Ask Dennis.
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