Medi-Cal is the California Medicaid program. Like Medicaid insurance in every other state, Medi-Cal is only available to those with limited personal assets and income. These needs-based health benefits may cover far more than Medicare will, making them crucial for some people in their golden years.
Unfortunately, those with significant resources may have a hard time connecting with Medi-Cal benefits during their retirement. It is far too common for people to operate under the assumption that they can just apply for Medi-Cal later in life when health issues required treatment that Medicare will not cover.
Advance planning helps protect those who may eventually need benefits. Why might need to you need to plan ahead to qualify for Medi-Cal?
The state imposes a penalty
If you do not plan ahead to qualify for benefits, then you may not get coverage when you need it. If you have made transfers or gifts in the 30 months leading up to your application, the state will hold you accountable for those transactions. Although that may seem extreme, it is actually more lenient than the 60-month lookback period enforced in most other states.
You will have to pay out of pocket for your own care at a time when you have likely already diminished your personal resources and cannot afford to do so. You may experience financial hardship as you attempt to cover your costs and could also have a hard time getting the support you need because you don’t have coverage.
Benefits will affect your family members too
Your loved ones might expect to inherit your home or your personal property when you die. However, those expectations may come to nothing if you fail to plan ahead and require medical benefits.
The state engages in estate recovery efforts that may include even requesting your executor to sell off your home and use the proceeds of that sale to pay for the benefits you received. Advance planning does require a careful evaluation of your resources and income but can help you get benefits more quickly and can reduce the likelihood of estate recovery efforts compromising the inheritance you leave for others.
Knowing that you need to plan ahead for medical benefits and long-term care as you age will benefit you and your closest family members.