When people need to qualify for Medi-Cal to pay for long-term care services, they soon realize that the program has strict income and resource limits. If you own a home and need Medi-Cal, you will need to know: 1) how this asset will impact your benefits and eligibility and 2) what will happen to your property when you pass away. The good news is that there are ways to safeguard your home and still qualify for Medi-Cal coverage. Here is a step-by-step guide to protecting your home from Medi-Cal.
Medi-Cal, or California Medicaid, is the state’s health insurance program for Californians with low income and resources. The program is an essential resource for millions of adults who need nursing home and other long-term care. According to a recent report, Medi-Cal pays for approximately 55% of all patient days in long-term care facilities.
When you apply for Medi-Cal, the program looks at your resources and income to determine eligibility. However, some of your personal assets will be exempt from this assessment. Some of these exempt (non-countable) assets include your primary residence and certain other resources. In other words, Medi-Cal will not count the property you use as your principal residence against you. However, if you own other assets, they may be considered countable by Medi-Cal for determining your eligibility. The rules regarding Medi-Cal eligibility and exempt assets can be complicated, and it’s essential to have a complete understanding of them before you apply for benefits.
If you are like many people, you may be most concerned about Medi-Cal being able to take your home. As explained above, your primary home won’t be considered countable for determining your eligibility. However, the Medi-Cal program may be able to come after your home when you pass away. This is because of something called Medi-Cal Estate Recovery. Under Medi-Cal Estate Recovery, Medi-Cal can pursue reimbursement for long-term care expenses from a recipient’s probate estate. Your probate estate is all the money, property, and assets that you own at the time of your death.
Here are the steps to follow to protect your home from Medi-Cal Estate Recovery:
Often, when someone needs Medi-Cal, it’s because there is an immediate need. If possible, you should be planning for Medi-Cal before the need arises. Applying and qualifying for Medi-Cal takes time, and you want to be eligible for coverage before there is a health emergency. Additionally, you will want to take time to determine the best ways to protect your home and other assets. An experienced Medi-Cal planning attorney can provide you with a step-by-step guide for protecting your home from Medi-Cal and help you plan for your eligibility.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are California Medi-Cal planning attorneys with the experience you need to plan for your future. We can help you protect your home and prepare for your Medi-Cal eligibility and long-term care expenses. Please get in touch with us online or by phone to schedule an appointment today.