With the aging baby boomers now becoming seniors and people living longer in general, one of the issues seniors face, especially in this economy, is the possibility of needing long term care. The cost of nursing home care has risen tremendously in the last decade. A survey done by Metlife in October 2008 listed the average cost of a private room in San Diego as $240 per day. Assisted living facilities can run anywhere from $2500 – $5000 per month, even more for specialized care such as for Alzheimer’s patients.
You can read more about long term care planning in an article here on our website. One option to pay for nursing home care is Medi-Cal, the California state-funded needs based program. Medi-Cal provides health and long term coverage to over 10 million Californians. To qualify for Medi-Cal for 24 hour care in a skilled nursing home,an applicant must pass the Income Test and the Asset Test. Medi-Cal has certain income limitations and also only pays for the cost of nursing home care if the “countable” or “non-exempt” assets of the person needing care and their spouse are below certain limits.
There are some assets that are “exempt” meaning they do not count in figuring your assets. Some of these “exempt assets” are a home, car, personal property, $1500 in life insurance, and prepaid funeral plans. You can also convert some of your countable assets into exempt assets before entering a nursing home.
If there is any chance that you or a family member will need Medi-Cal assistance, contact us at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation for a complimentary consultation. There are strategies we can advise you about such as spending down your assets, converting nonexempt assets to exempt assets, and other techniques to enable you to qualify for Medi-Cal. We can assist you in determining if you qualify for Medi-Cal and act as your representative in completing and submitting the application.
Medi-Cal considers the amounts they pay to you in the nature of a loan that has to be paid back from your estate after you die. There are some legal steps that can be taken to minimize or eliminate the collection attempts but they need to be handled properly to be effective.