The high cost of long-term care has made planning a critically important issue for most middle class seniors and their families. In fact, most seniors will likely require some form of long-term care. Sadly, many of them are unprepared for the significant financial burdens it places on their family’s hard-earned savings. Financial devastation looms large for a family facing ongoing care at a rate of $10,000 or more per month.
Long-Term Care Options
While some seniors are able to afford private care, the cost of long-term care can easily wipe out savings of all but the wealthiest families in a matter of years. Those who have planned ahead by purchasing long-term care insurance have a degree of certainty and peace of mind, knowing that they have a lesser need to rely on other sources in the future. Unfortunately, many can’t afford the high cost of long-term care insurance or worse, because of age or medical conditions, cannot qualify for long-term care insurance. If you do have long-term care insurance, you should be aware of what your policy covers. Many policies have high deductibles or provide for only a short period of care in a medical facility. In fact, many who have long-term care insurance still have to resort to Medicaid to pay for their care.
The other option to pay for care is Medi-cal. A joint federal-state program; Medi-cal provides medical assistance to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled, or blind. Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America and serves as the option of last resort for people who have no other way to finance their long-term care. Although Medi-cal eligibility rules vary from state to state, federal minimum standards and guidelines must be observed.
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, the latest being the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which went into effect in 2006. These changes have resulted in complex eligibility requirements for those in need of Medi-cal benefits. It’s no longer as easy as reviewing one’s bank statements. There are a myriad of regulations involving look-back periods, income caps, transfer penalties and waiting periods to plan around.
We have the experience to 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 that is right for you.