​Most people work their entire lives, saving and preparing for retirement.  They may not be wealthy, but they have accumulated a nest egg, hoping to provide security for themselves.  One of their most heart-felt concerns is never to be a burden on anyone.  Then the unthinkable happens . . . a stroke or some other disabling health problems.


​​Without help, when you add the extra costs associated with a skilled nursing facility (SNF)/long term care (LTC), it goes beyond the fixed income of most retirees.  Nursing home costs in California average of $6,000-$7,000 dollars per month.  As a result, income-producing assets needed for paying normal living expenses are depleted.  Before long, neither income nor assets are left, leaving the remaining spouse, or recovering patient, destitute.


Common Questions Asked About Medi-Cal

1.      What is Medi-Cal?

         Medi-Cal is a federal/state program that pays a share of nursing home costs for those who qualify.  Although there is a limit on certain types of assets, that a person can own and still qualify, there is no prohibition with regard to repositioning assets, under many circumstances. Such transfers are not subject to the“look back”rules.  It is this ability to reposition one’s assets at any time and still qualify for benefits that makes Medi-Cal planning a viable option for almost all seniors. It is the ability of the Elder Law Attorney to skillfully implement the necessary property transfers that makes qualifying for Medi-Cal Benefits a feasable option.

 
2.       Is Medi-Cal Planning legal?

         My attorney, CPA, financial planner, stockbroker, friend, etc. has said that Medi-Cal Planning is illegal.  "A Medi-Cal applicant may reduce his or her non-exempt property to within the specified limits in any way he or she chooses within the calendar month for which Medi-Cal is being requested”. All County Welfare Directors Letters: 99-03, dtd 1/20/99.  We at Elder Law Center, P.C. have obtained Medi-Cal Benefits for hundreds of satisfied clients.


       
   People who suggest that "Medi-Cal Planning" is illegal fall into one of two categories, which are:
            1) They are not well informed as to what the law actually provides, or
            2) They are promoting their own agendas, (a) such as LTC (Long Term Care) insurance companies seeking
                to sell insurance policies, and; (b) such as those who do Medi-Cal planning for a fee, with the
                           recommendation that you "spend down your assets".  

You need to OBTAIN the TRUE FACTS, and LEARN what
MEDI-CAL RULES really do set forth.

         All counties must, by law, apply the rules established by the State of California, and spelled out in the "Medi-Cal Eligibility Procedures Manual Letter No.: 179,"  dtd May 15, 1997 and in subsequent mailings called "All County Welfare Directors Letters." People that challenge the veracity of these Medi-Cal rulings have never been able to provide legal documentation that support their claim. 


3.       Do most nursing homes accept Medi-Cal payment?

        Approximately 96% of California nursing homes accept Medi-Cal.  Nearly two-thirds of all California nursing home residents will eventually become dependant upon Medi-Cal or will be receiving some form of benefits from the State of California.


4.      Will the State put a lien on my home?
         Yes. But there are steps to take to avoid a possible estate claim that could include your home.  That is one of the very important services that Elder Law Center, P.C. is able to provide.  


5.       How can Medi-Cal pay my nursing home bills and how can I avoid the “spend-down”?
         The law allows people to qualify for Medi-Cal by repositioning their assets into exempt or unavailable assets.  This is the essence of the service that the Elder Law Attorney provides. 

6.       Will I receive inferior care on Medi-Cal?            
          No! The law forbids nursing homes from discriminating against patients because they are receiving Medi-Cal Benefits.
 
7.       Must I be poverty stricken to qualify for Medi-Cal?
          On the contrary. Medi-Cal was designed to help those of modest means from becoming impoverished.  That's exactly what Medi-Cal Planning is all about.  The primary role of the Elder Law Attorney is to help the applicant qualify for Medi-Cal without becoming impoverished.
 

8.      I have been told I need to “spend down” to qualify for Medi-Cal.

         Many "professionals" will tell you that you need to“spend down”, or divide your estate.  These statements are not true.  Anyone providing such advice in not familiar with the current Medi-Cal rules, nor familiar with the skills that the Elder Law Attorney employs to the repositioning of your assets. Following such "shoot from the hip" advice could make you ineligible for Medi-Cal benefits.  You can reposition your assets that exceed the resource allowance, and still qualify for Medi-Cal.
  
9.      Do I have too much income to qualify for Medi-Cal?
         Although income is an important factor in determining the “share of cost”, it is not a determining factor for Medi-Cal qualification.  Most individuals can qualify.
 
10.     We have a Living Trust.  Does that protect our assets from nursing home costs?
          No. It will not protect your assets from nursing home costs, and it will not protect you from a Medi-Cal spend down.  Your Elder Law Attorney will be able to restate your living trust in such a way that your assets will be protected.
 

11.      My spouse or mother/father is in a nursing home now.  Is it too late to qualify for state entitlements?

          No. Elder Law Center can re-arrange your assets so as to ease the financial burden you are facing.  It's never too late.
 

12.     We have too much money in savings, cd’s, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.  Can that be protected?

        Yes. A married couple can have $101,640.00 dollars in cash, etc. and a single person can have $2,000.00 dollars in cash.  The excess amount is subject to “spend down”, but can be protected. 

When we MEET, we can SHOW you how this is ACCOMPLISHED.
 
13.     Can I give my money to relatives or friends?
              No. Doing so will create periods of ineligibility before you can qualify for Medi-Cal.  There are other options available.  Don't, repeat, don't be tempted to make any gifts to anyone until you have consulted with an Elder Law Attorney. 
 
14.   Can I keep my home and car and still qualify for Medi-Cal?
            Yes. The home and car are considered exempt assets.  They could become available assets when the Medi-Cal recipient and his or her spouse passes on. However, we can show you how to protect those assets, as well. The protection of assets is a very important part of Medi-Cal Planning.  Protection of assets from recovery by the State of California is one of the services that is available from Elder Law Center, P.C. - ApplyforMedi-cal.com.

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It is hard enough dealing with one’s emotions because of long term health problems, but to compound it with financial worries makes the situation unbearable.  Qualifying for Medi-Cal can help preserve one’s needed assets and income.

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