Why Medi-Cal Planning Is Urgent Now to Ensure a Better Future

No one wants to think about how their health could begin to decline as they age. However, considering the potential medical problems you may face as you get older, planning for such an outcome is an essential aspect of being prepared for costly treatments or nursing home stays when they do occur.

One way to prepare for potential medical expenses is to examine what medical aid plans you may be able to receive. If you live in California, you may qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, to help you cover medical expenses once you turn 65.

Unfortunately, thousands of eligible Californians never even apply for Medi-Cal benefits, or they wait too long to begin their applications. This has caused them to lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars of healthcare coverage. Starting your Medi-Cal planning now is essential to ensure that you receive all of the coverage possible to take care of future medical expenses.

Read on to learn more about Medi-Cal and why you should begin planning for this government-sponsored healthcare plan now. Then, contact our estate planning attorney for assistance with your Medi-Cal planning process.

What Is Medi-Cal?

Medi-Cal is another name for the Medicaid healthcare program available to California residents who meet specific low-income requirements. This program helps cover medical treatment for individuals who may not receive health insurance through their employers or be able to afford such treatment on their own.

To be eligible to receive healthcare benefits through Medi-Cal, your income must be below 128% of the federal poverty level for your household size. Alternatively, you may also qualify if you meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be 65 or older
  • Be blind or otherwise disabled
  • Be under 21
  • Be pregnant
  • Live in a skilled nursing home
  • Have refugee status
  • Be a caretaker of a child under 21

The Department of Health Care Services will consider your specific income and circumstances to determine your eligibility for this healthcare coverage.

Benefits of Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal provides coverage for a core set of essential health benefits. These include:

  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Laboratory work
  • Outpatient services
  • Pediatric services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Pregnancy and newborn care
  • Prescription medications
  • Preventive care

Many older adults utilize Medi-Cal coverage to pay for some or all of their nursing home care. Without Medi-Cal, their family members would need to spend thousands of dollars a month out of pocket for their loved ones to receive this long-term care.

Why You Should Begin Medi-Cal Planning Now

Qualifying for Medi-Cal is not a cut-and-dry process. Many California residents put off the application process as long as possible, believing that they will receive coverage down the line when they need it. Unfortunately, this thought process has led many to miss out on the coverage they desperately need.

Here are three reasons why you should begin Medi-Cal planning now.

1. Medi-Cal Has a 2.5-Year Look-Back Period

The Medi-Cal planning process does not begin with your application. Instead, you should ideally start planning for Medi-Cal at least thirty months before you apply and start receiving coverage from this plan.

To qualify for Medi-Cal, you must meet a specific asset limit. Some people think they will simply gift or transfer their assets to children before applying to meet this limit. Unfortunately, California has a thirty-month look-back period, meaning that your application processors will look at the assets you owned within the past two and a half years to determine your eligibility.

If the government sees that you transferred your assets within the past two and a half years, you will face a penalty period or period of Medi-Cal ineligibility. This penalty could prevent you from receiving coverage when you need it.

However, planning ahead and gifting assets more than two and a half years before applying can eliminate any associated penalties, improving your eligibility.

2. The Medi-Cal Application Is Lengthy

The Medi-Cal application is long, complicated, and time-consuming.

If you need coverage tomorrow or even a month from now, you will not have enough time to gather all of the documents necessary to prove your eligibility for Medi-Cal. Alternatively, you may turn in your application on time only to find that the government has declined your request due to a mistake in your documentation.

Medi-Cal planning can help you prepare your necessary documents and information ahead of time, creating a faster, more straightforward application process when you do decide to apply for coverage. Planning can also make you more familiar with the application, reducing stress when you apply.

3. You Never Know When You Might Need Coverage

Some California residents put off planning for Medi-Cal because they think they will not need coverage for several years, then face an unexpected health issue they cannot afford. Even though you are healthy now, you never know when you may need coverage. It’s always safest to prepare for the worst-case scenario when it comes to healthcare costs.

If you have not begun planning your Medi-Cal application process, today is the best day to start. At Geisler Patterson Law in Orange County, CA, our attorneys for estate planning can walk you through all of the necessary steps to receive the most coverage from a Medi-Cal plan.

Our elder law attorney Martha Patterson can help you protect your family like a mama bear protects her cubs. Contact our estate planning attorney team today at 866-452-9657 to start the process of planning for Medi-Cal.

Copyright 2021. Geisler Patterson Law. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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