Should I include a Medi-Cal planning section in my estate plan?

Medi-Cal is a needs-based health care program that is funded by Federal Medicaid funds and California state funds. In order for Medi-Cal to pay for nursing home care, the doctor is required to give a prescription for such care, which must be considered medically necessary. In order to be eligible for Medi-Cal, spouses must have countable assets that are worth less than $2,000. If you anticipate that you will need Medi-Cal, you can expedite your eligibility by reducing your countable assets, and include Medi-Cal planning as part of your estate plan.

You must prove that the assets are unavailable to pay for your care, or change the assets into something that Medicare does not take into account, such as the equity in a primary residence or make improvements in the home. You can also donate the assets. However, if you donate the assets, you may be ineligible for a period of time. And if you sell countable assets, the proceeds are counted.

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