Through years of experience, our Orange County Medi-Cal planning lawyers have learned that families should seriously consider planning for the potential need for hospice care. Hospice care is a type of health care service that focuses on caring for individuals instead of curing medical illness, as well as providing end-of-life care. The majority of hospice care takes place in the patient’s home. It is not uncommon for friends and family of a hospice patient to serve as the primary caregivers. However, hospice care typically involves a team of caregivers and health care providers who make regular visits to evaluate the patient and provide additional medical care or services as required. Hospice care is covered under certain Medi-Cal assistance programs, but you still need to plan. Let our Orange County Medi-Cal planning lawyers explain why.
Why You Need a Plan to Pay For Hospice Care
There are different ways to cover the expense of hospice care. Choosing which method will work best for your family can be difficult so you need to think about it ahead of time. While you can apply for coverage through Medi-Cal, there are other options available to you as well. Some of the other common methods for covering the cost of hospice care services include Medicare, private insurance, and TRICARE (for military personnel). If you anticipate seeking Medi-Cal assistance to cover the cost of hospice care, our Orange County Medi-Cal planning lawyers recommend you have a plan.
Why Medi-Cal Planning is so Helpful
Medi-Cal benefits are meant to assist California residents with low incomes with paying for their medical care. Because Medicaid is considered a needs-based program, recipients of Medi-Cal benefits are only allowed to have less than $2,000 worth of assets. This is where Medi-Cal planning comes in. With a proper plan, our Orange County Medi-Cal planning lawyers can help you eliminate the need to exhaust all of your resources just to become eligible for benefits or to maintain your eligibility.
You May Be Healthy Now, But You Still Need to Plan Ahead
One misconception that many people have is that being healthy now means you do don’t need to worry about long-term or hospice care in the future. It would be a mistake to overlook the potential for needing these types of medical care in the future. The goal is to plan for the unexpected because a serious accident or unexpected illness can easily require the need for long-term or hospice care. That is why our Orange County Medi-Cal planning lawyers recommend creating a plan now, just in case. Consider these statistics – nearly two-thirds of all individuals over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term health care and many of these eventually need hospice care.
How to Qualify for Medi-Cal Coverage
If you already qualify for Medi-Cal benefits, then most likely your coverage includes hospice care. There are certain groups of people who automatically qualify for Medi-Cal, such as SSI recipients, participants in the CalWORKs (California’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program, people enrolled in California’s refugee programs, and children in the California foster care system. If you have questions about Medi-Cal eligibility, let our Orange County Medi-Cal planning lawyers answer those for you.
Understanding the Income and Asset Limitations for Medi-Cal Coverage
You may also qualify for Medi-Cal coverage based on your income. Under the Affordable Care Act, the income limit for Medi-Cal is now 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). That equates to about $16,100 for an individual and $32,900 for a family of four. While the Affordable Care Act has done away with the asset test for most Medi-Cal applicants, if you are elderly or disabled, you will still need to have minimal assets in order to qualify for Medi-Cal. The limits are $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Not all of your assets are counted towards that limit, though. For example, your main residence will not be counted as long as your spouse still lives there. Also, one vehicle, personal belongings, and small burial or life insurance policies are usually not considered countable assets.
Download a FREE estate planning worksheet today! If you have questions regarding Medi-Cal planning, estate planning, trust contests, or any other trust administration issues, please contact the Schomer Law Group either online or by calling us in Los Angeles at (310) 337-7696, and in Orange County at (562) 346-3209.
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