Elder law is a specialized and rapidly growing area of the law. It focuses on helping seniors, together with their loved ones, prepare for and cope with the many changes involved in growing older. Finding ways to pay for long-term care is one of the most important aspects of Elder Law. Most seniors will require some form of long-term care during the course of their lives. With costs averaging $10,000 a month or more, it is disturbing, but not surprising, that many middle-class families exhaust their life savings within a few years of entering a nursing home. At Desert Law Group, one of our primary areas of focus of our Palm Springs elder law attorneys is helping seniors and the people who love them plan in advance for the possibility of long-term care and protecting their hard-earned savings.
For some seniors, long-term care insurance is an option that protects assets as well as provides peace of mind. Unfortunately, it can be expensive and many seniors cannot qualify for it due to their age or existing medical condition. High deductibles pose another challenge. There are other options available, however, and we welcome the opportunity to explain them to you. In addition, we may be able to help you qualify for assistance from Medi-Cal, which has become the most common source of funding to cover nursing home costs in the state of California.
A joint Federal and State program, Medi-Cal provides assistance to low-income individuals, including people 65 and older, or people who are blind or disabled. Medicaid, the Federal program that funds the California Medi-Cal program, is now the largest payer of nursing home bills in the United States. Eligibility for Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) assistance, and penalties for violating them, vary between states. All Federal guidelines and minimum standards must be met in California to obtain Medi-Cal assistance. These include look-back periods, transfer penalties, income caps, waiting periods, and more. In addition, we anticipate the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 will be implemented in California in the foreseeable future.
Given the complexity of the Medi-Cal application and approval process, as well as the severity of the penalties involved for making mistakes, it is very important to consult with an elder law attorney before applying for assistance yourself. And if you think that you can simply give assets away to family and friends to become eligible, think again. While gifting is of course possible, doing so in the wrong way can prove financially devastating for you and your loved ones. Contact us today to learn more about your options and for help in creating an Asset Protection Plan designed to address all of your particular needs and goals.
A Medi-Cal Crisis
A Medi-Cal crisis is a situation in which an individual must enter a nursing home immediately, or very soon, and has been told that he or she has too many assets to qualify for assistance from Medi-Cal. What you must understand is that the information provided by family, friends, and even social workers or nursing home intake staff, is often inaccurate. They mean well, but the laws governing Medi-Cal eligibility are complicated and ever-changing.
At Desert Law Group, we can quickly determine if you are eligible, find ways to give you the best possible chance of qualifying for assistance, guide you through every step of the process, and protect your hard-earned assets. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, or are already living in a nursing home, we may still be able to help you. Do not despair and do not give up. Our Palm Springs elder law attorneys are here to assist you. Contact us as soon as possible for a consultation.