Elder law encompasses a wide range of practice areas, including long-term care planning, conservatorships, Medi-Cal planning, veterans benefits, and essential estate planning. The primary goal of elder law is to ensure that you and your loved ones are adequately prepared for the medical, financial and legal challenges you will face as you grow older.
Why is preparing for the high cost of long-term care so very important? Consider the following statistics:
Purchasing long-term care insurance provides some protection in coping with the high cost of care. Unfortunately, this insurance is expensive and many families can’t afford it. Even those who can are often denied coverage because of their age or existing medical conditions. If you do have long-term care insurance, you should be aware of what your policy covers. Many policies have high deductibles or a waiting period before coverage will kick in. Given the cost of long-term care and its associated requirements, it is not surprising that many people with long-term care insurance still need help from Medi-Cal to pay for the care they need.
Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California) is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America. While Medi-Cal eligibility with respect to long-term care was not overly restrictive in the past, there has been a steady drift towards more complex and limiting rules. Qualifying for assistance from Medi-Cal is no longer as easy as reviewing one’s bank statements. A myriad of regulations involving look-back periods, transfer penalties, and waiting periods must be taken into account.
Far too often, seniors wait until they fall ill and require care to seek the assistance of an elder care attorney. Unfortunately, by waiting for a crisis, seniors and their caregivers often encounter more hurdles for qualification and high levels of stress during an already difficult time. We assist clients with Medi-Cal pre-planning. This involves developing a long-term care plan that seeks to protect assets through traditional estate planning strategies by using asset protection tools such as irrevocable trusts while coordinating private insurance, veterans benefits, and other resources that may be available to pay for future care. Through Medi-Cal planning, you can obtain the care you need without losing your life savings.
Even if you haven’t taken time to plan for Medi-Cal eligibility, there are a number of ways to qualify. We assist clients who are just starting the process as well as those who need to qualify immediately. In these situations, we work directly with seniors, caregivers, geriatric care managers, social workers, care facilities, and healthcare providers to identify the best environment for your ongoing care. We work with you to complete the Medi-Cal application, and when necessary, “spend down to qualify” in a way that won’t consume all of your hard-earned assets.
We can help you avoid the financial ruin associated with the high cost of long-term care. Contact us today to learn more about the issues surrounding Medi-Cal eligibility and to begin the planning and application process.
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My husband and I had a fantastic experience working with Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law. Julianna Malis was helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and made it easy for us to create our estate plan. Could not recommend them more highly!
Julianna was easy to work with, answered all my questions and delivered my Estate Planning documents on the timeline that we discussed at our first meeting. I plan to use her services in the future.
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