AN INTRODUCTION TO MEDI-CAL PLANNING

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Stuart Furman, Esq.

Unfortunately the cost of care in a nursing home has risen at an alarming rate, well above the inflation rate, or the rate that one's investments and income has increased. As such, an extended stay in a nursing home can bankrupt a client and his/her family.

"Medi-Cal planning" is broken down into two aspects:

  1. Pre-planning. Pre-planning involves drafting appropriate provisions into existing estate planning documents so that at the time of need (entering a nursing home), action can be taken to implement an appropriate Medi-Cal plan. Simply, all the tools (necessary estate planning provisions) need to be placed into the toolbox (the trust and power of attorney) for later use. See the common misconceptions below.
  2. Crisis Planning. Crisis planning is planning and implementing a Medi-Cal plan once someone is admitted, or an admission is imminent, into a nursing facility. The current estate planning documents define the authority that is granted to the agent to carry out the plan and this firm implements a plan based upon all of the factors that are presented at the time.
For a free Medi-Cal planning evaluation of your Medi-Cal needs, click here.

Misconceptions. There are several very important misconceptions regarding Medi-Cal planning and general estate planning:

  1. Medicare does NOT pay for long term care. Medicare is basically health insurance. Although Medicare may pay for a short period of time after transfer of a patient from a hospital to a nursing facility (up to 100 days and with a co-pay), it simply will not pay for a long term custodial stay in a nursing home.
  2. Medi-Cal does not pay for assisted living costs.
  3. A General Durable Power of Attorney does NOT always contain all of the language needed to carry out an effective Medi-Cal plan. Certain language must be expressly included in the document or it still does not exist even though the power of attorney contains language indicating that all powers are included in this power of attorney and are granted to the agent.