Understanding the Medi-Cal Spend Down

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Medi-Cal is the State of California’s program. In all other states this program is called Medicaid. However, this program is income-sensitive, meaning that, in order to qualify for benefits, an applicant cannot have more than a modest amount of personal assets and funds. Understandably, someone who needs Medi-Cal may also have concerns about giving up their property in order to get crucial coverage. By learning more about the Medi-Cal spend down, you can determine the best steps to take to protect your assets.

The “Look Back” Period

One error that those looking to qualify for Medi-Cal can make is giving away too much money and property to meet the income and asset requirements.  The problem with this tactic is something called the “look back” period.  This is a time period where the program can review how an applicant has transferred his or her property and spent funds prior to filing their Medi-Cal application. In California, the look back time frame is 30 months prior to the application. During this time, certain questionable transactions such as large cash gifts to family and friends may be counted against the giver’s eligibility. Additionally, the sale of property or another asset for less than fair market value may also be called into question.

The Spend Down and Asset Protection

Many people are concerned that they will have to spend and sell almost everything they own in order to qualify for Medi-Cal.  Fortunately, there are numerous ways California residents can retain some of their significant assets without endangering their Medi-Cal eligibility. For instance, California has property and other exemptions that can be used to protect an applicant’s primary home and other key resources. The best way to maximize these exemptions is to consult with an experienced California estate planning attorney who can help you assess your assets.

The ideal time to plan for your Medi-Cal eligibility is before the need arises. With the help of experienced counsel, you can protect your assets and prepare for Medi-Cal. Alice Salvo is an experienced Medi-Cal planning attorney who can efficiently sort through the Medi-Cal asset protection regulations and help you make the right preparations.  Contact us today to schedule your consultation. https://www.salvolaw.com/contact/


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