Long-term care is one of the most important components of Medi-Cal. If you or a loved one cannot perform two activities of daily living—such as eating, bathing, grooming, transferring, toileting—then you may qualify to have Medi-Cal pay for your skilled nursing facility.
In order to qualify for Medi-Cal, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Medical eligibility
There must be a determination by a doctor that you cannot perform 2 out of 5 activities of daily living.
- Resource eligibility
- Countable assets must be transferred outside of your name.
- However, if you are married, there will be spousal allowances given to the spouse who is not trying to qualify for Medi-Cal.
Currently these assets are not countable in California:
- Personal effects
- One automobile
- Whole Life with under $1500 cash value
- Prepaid burial
- Property used in trade or business
- Special payments protected by law
- Work related plans (IRAs, 401Ks, etc.)
- Certain Annuities
- There are different eligibility requirements for single persons and married couples
California has a 30-month look-back period, which means that gifts over a certain monetary amount made within 30 months may cause Medi-cal ineligibility.
As you can see, qualifying for Medi-Cal is typically not the simplest process.
In order to properly navigate these eligibility requirements, attorneys often draft a certain type of irrevocable trust called a Medi-Cal Asset Protection Trust. This Trust allows client to protect their assets by moving those assets into the Trust, yet still qualifying for Medi-Cal.
Effective January 1, 2017, Medi-Cal can now only recover after the recipient passes away if there are assets that are subject to probate. This means that if a person moves his or her assets into a Trust, and receives Medi-Cal benefits, Medi-Cal will not be able to recover the person’s assets after death, allowing you to leave a legacy for your loved one.
Due to the recent change in California, Medi-Cal planning has become a much more attractive option for so many of my clients.