Elder Care Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients: A Guide to Medi-Cal

elder care planning for alzheimers

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month—a time to raise awareness and advocate for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. For many families, caring for an elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s can be a daunting task, both emotionally and financially. That’s where Medi-Cal comes in.

Medi-Cal is a government-funded program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income individuals and families in California. In addition, Medi-Cal benefits can be used to pay for long-term care in skilled nursing facilities. In this article, we’ll explore how Medi-Cal can help families plan for the care of their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.

Read on or contact our Medi-Cal planning attorneys to discuss your options today.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Understanding, Costs, and Care Options

Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. It’s the most common cause of dementia among older adults, with symptoms typically appearing in the mid-60s. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be expensive, especially as the disease progresses. The cost of care can include medications, medical appointments, home care, and assisted living facilities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the average cost of care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is nearly $60,000 per year. Care in a skilled nursing facility in California is over $10,000 per month which amounts to $120,000+ per year. This can be a significant financial burden for many families.

What is Medi-Cal & How It Helps With Alzheimer’s Care

Medi-Cal is a government-funded program that is the state’s version of the federal Medicaid program. Medi-Cal covers various medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, and long-term care.

Medi-Cal can be a valuable resource for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. It can help cover the cost of medical services and long-term care, including nursing home care,. Medi-Cal also covers medications and medical equipment necessary to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

To qualify for long-term care Medi-Cal, an individual must meet certain asset requirements. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to their primary residence and retirement accounts, a single person may have up to $130,000 in countable assets, and a married couple may have up to $267,400. Those with more assets may still qualify for Medi-Cal with the use of irrevocable trusts, gifting or by court petition.

Planning for Medi-Cal

Planning for Medi-Cal can be a complicated process, but it’s important for families to start early. The application process can take several months, and some strict rules and regulations must be followed.

Here are five tips for planning for Medi-Cal:

  1. Understand the eligibility requirements. To qualify for Medi-Ca to cover long-term care, an individual must meet certain asset requirements. It’s important to understand these requirements before applying for Medi-Cal.
  2. Seek professional help. The application process for Medi-Cal can be complex and confusing. It’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional, such as an elder law attorney, to ensure that the application is completed correctly.
  3. Gather documentation. The application for Medi-Cal requires extensive documentation, including proof of income, assets, and medical expenses. It’s important to gather all necessary documents before beginning the application process.
  4. Consider a Medi-cal asset protection trust. For those with assets above the Medi-Cal eligibility limit, a trust can be a useful tool for planning for long-term care. A trust can help protect assets while allowing individuals to qualify for Medi-Cal.
  5. Don’t wait too long. Start planning for Medi-Cal early. The application process can take several months, and delaying the application can result in missed benefits and additional costs.

If you want to apply for Medi-Cal for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, you should also know about the Medi-Cal look-back period. This is the period in which Medi-Cal considers your assets when evaluating your eligibility. It is important to get started now to ensure that you can qualify for Medi-Cal. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Applying for Medi-Cal

Applying for Medi-Cal can be a complex process, but starting the process as soon as possible is important. This can involve gathering financial and medical records, completing an application, and providing documentation to support the application.

It’s also important to understand the rules and regulations associated with Medi-Cal, as there are strict guidelines for income and assets. Working with an elder law attorney can help ensure the application is completed accurately and efficiently.

Get Help With Medi-Cal and Elder Care Planning From Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law

Planning for the care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be daunting, but it is essential to ensure that they receive the care they need while protecting their assets. Medi-Cal is an excellent option for those who need financial assistance to cover the cost of care, but navigating the application process can be complicated.

That’s why consulting with an experienced elder law attorney like Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law is crucial. Our team can help guide you through the Medi-Cal application process and assist with other aspects of elder care planning. Our Understanding Medi-Cal guide walks you through everything you need to know about Medi-Cal and how to get help.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and start planning for your loved one’s care. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Author Bio

Julianna Malis is the Founder and Managing Partner of Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law, a Santa Barbara estate planning law firm she founded in 2014. With more than 25 years of experience practicing law, she has dedicated her career to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, elder law, Medicaid and Medicare planning, probate, and other estate planning areas.

Julianna received her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific — McGeorge School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar Association.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google