The simple answer to this question is “before you need it” however knowing when that is can often be difficult. Most of us know to plan for retirement but sometimes we don’t recognize the need to plan for when we or our parents can no longer take care of ourselves.
People are living longer and more people will need long term care than in past generations. Some people do not realize that often what strikes the elderly is not a physical ailment but a mental condition which Medicare will not cover. Medicare typically covers such things as skilled nursing but it usually does not cover custodial care. Paid caregivers at home or home health aides, a nursing home, or other assisted living facilities will not usually be paid for by Medicare.
The time to consider the expenses of long term care is before it is needed so that you can explore such options as long term health care insurance, a spend down of assets to qualify for Medi-Cal, or community services that may be available. Taking the time now to plan, before there is a need, will give you peace of mind to deal with the difficult decisions that arise when the time comes.
The San Diego based estate planning lawyers at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation can assist with making sure you or your parents have up to date health care and asset powers of attorney and answer questions you have about Medi-Cal. Feel free to contact us if we can help.