Most of us prefer not to think about it, but the reality is that disability can strike at any time. If you were to become disabled, how would your loved ones cover the cost of your healthcare? Without careful planning, the cost of your care could put a serious financial strain on a spouse or other family members. In addition, if the estate assets you spent years acquiring could dwindle rapidly, leaving nothing to pass down to loved ones after you are gone. The good news is that working with an experienced California estate planning attorney to incorporate Medi-Cal planning into your overall estate plan will ensure that you are financially prepared if disability does strike.
Disability Isn’t Only for the Old
The thought of becoming disabled frequently conjured up an image of an elderly individual suffering from Alzheimer’s or a similar condition. While dementia certainly does lead to disability, you could become disabled at any point in your life as a result of a catastrophic accident or a debilitating illness. In fact, you stand a one in five chance of suffering a period of disability lasting five months or longer before you reach retirement age. As you age, however, your odds of becoming disabled do increase.
How Will You Pay for the Cost of Healthcare If You Are Disabled?
Regardless of your age at the time you become disabled, you are likely to face substantial financial challenges paying for the cost of care. At some point you will likely be moved to skilled nursing facility or other type of long-term care (LTC) facility. In the State of California, you can expect to pay close to $10,000 a month, on average, for LTC. If you are a senior, you probably rely on Medicare to cover hospital and other healthcare bills; however, Medicare will only cover LTC for a short period of time, if at all. Basic health insurance plans also typically exclude expenses related to LTC. Unless you have the financial resources to cover LTC out of pocket, that leaves Medi-Cal as your only alternative.
Medi-Cal for the Disabled
Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, has over 90 categories under which you might be eligible for coverage, including the “Aged and Disabled Federal Poverty Level Program” and the “Aged, Blind, and Disabled – Medically Needy Medi-Cal.” Both categories of Medi-Cal will cover LTC expenses if you meet the eligibility guidelines. The difference between the two programs is that your income must be low enough to meet the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines to qualify for the Aged and Disabled Federal Poverty Level Program whereas you may qualify for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled – Medically Needy Medi-Cal with higher income. If your income puts you in the Medically Need Medi-Cal category you will have a “share of cost” amount that you must pay each month but Medi-Cal will usually pay the majority of your LTC bill.
Contact the Los Angeles Medi-Cal Attorneys at Schomer Law Group Today!
At Schomer Law Group, we are here to help if you find yourself facing a financial crisis as a result of the need to pay for disability related long-term care. Contact the Los Angeles, California office today by calling (310) 337-7696 or (562) 346-3209 or by filling out our online contact form.