084: Medi-Cal for All

Did you know that as of July 1, 2022, there will be some significant changes in the eligibility rules for Medi-Cal? Medi-Cal is the California implementation of Medicaid and something that many people depend on. Unfortunately, if you need Medi-Cal help now, these changes won’t be rolled out in time. But if Medi-Cal is something you’re planning on down the road, then these new law changes may help. Many more Californians will qualify for this support to help pay for nursing home care without spending down their assets or doing complicated asset transfer planning.

In a new episode of Absolute Trust Talk, host Kirsten Howe is joined by Absolute Trust Counsel’s associate attorney, Madison Gunn. Together, they discuss the changing laws and what California residents can expect once enacted. Some questions they will answer include:

  • What are the new Med-Cal rules and requirements?
  • Will these changes impact Medicare benefits and what is the difference between Medicare and Medi-Cal?
  • Who will not be affected by the new Medi-Cal requirements?

And more!

Whether you have yet to complete your Medi-Cal planning or estate planning, don’t miss Kirsten and Madison’s information on the big changes coming to this law. And remember, it’s never too early to plan for the future. We look forward to sharing these critical insights with you.

Big Three from Episode #084:

  1. Medi-Cal eligibility rules are changing in California beginning in July 2022 by increasing asset limitations with plans to eliminate asset restrictions sometime after January 1, 2024.
  2. The impending changes to Medi-Cal do not impact your Medicare. In fact, the new law will allow you to supplement your Medicare benefit with Medi-Cal coverage.
  3. Residents of California who qualify for Medi-Cal should be aware that there is something called “estate recovery,” which can present a bill to your estate after you die and expect Medi-Cal to be paid back. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you complete your Medi-Cal planning with an estate plan.

Time-stamped Show Notes:

0:00 Introduction

1:43 Kirsten introduces the topic for this episode: Medi-Cal eligibility laws. Current programs have asset restrictions that will be phased out in the next year. How will changes made to these laws change your plans for the future? Tune in now to find out!

2:51 Under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, there is Medicaid. Medi-Cal is the California implementation of Medicaid. Kirsten and Madison explain that it’s important to understand which Medi-Cal program provides your benefits because the requirements vary.

4:31 Start listening now as Madison and Kirsten break down the requirements for the most common type of Medi-Cal they work with, known as the Aged and Disabled Medi-Cal.

5:12 Did you know? If you are married and are looking for in-home nursing, you’re allowed to have an additional $137,400 as of today. But, as of July 1, 2022, this asset limit will bump up. How much? Team ATC has the answer! Tune in to find out!

7:04 Kirsten shares that California plans to roll out further asset restriction releases. The plan is to eliminate asset restrictions at some point following January 1, 2024.

8:15 Will these big changes impact Medicare? How does Medi-Cal differ from Medicare? Here’s what you need to know.

11:26 Madison poses the question to Kirsten: Who will these law changes not affect? People who are receiving Medi-Cal because they are on SSI. SSI is a supplemental income that is provided to people who are disabled and have very low income. If you’re eligible for SSI, you are automatically eligible for Medi-Cal. SSI already has income and asset limits that will not be affected by the changing Medi-Cal laws, so their situations will not change.

14:00 Kirsten segues into the next topic, asking: Are special needs trusts no longer important? Both Kirsten and Madison weigh in on the subject.

14:48 When it comes to Medi-Cal, your income affects many different things. For example, if you were going to inherit money from your parents, that money is something that could be held against you or put you over the threshold for something like Medi-Cal. Kirsten shares that a solution they might come to is putting the money in a special needs trust.

17:30 Did you know? Special needs trusts can replace conservatorships!

18:21 Residents of California who qualify for Medi-Cal should be aware that there is something called “estate recovery,” where Medi-Cal can present a bill to your estate after you die and expect your coverage to be paid back.

20:34 Kirsten and Madison weigh in with their personal thoughts on the changing laws. Do they think it will be beneficial in the long run? Do their beliefs weigh more positively or negatively? You won’t want to miss what they have to say!

26:58 Question from the Audience: “Is this change in law permanent?” Madison responds that no laws are permanent. “They are permanent until they are changed again.”

29:02 Question from the Audience: “Isn’t Medi-Cal a state AND federal program? Did the federal government okay this?” Madison answers that it IS a federal program, but the federal government gives the funds to each state, and it’s on the state to disperse the money as they deem fit.

30:32 Question from the Audience: “When applying for Medi-Cal, it asks for total household income of the individual applying. I thought I didn’t have to include my income as a spouse?” Kirsten answers that yes, you have to include all the income. This doesn’t mean that the spouse’s income is being held against you. It’s referred to as an NA. NA is the minimum amount that the healthy spouse (or spouse not applying for Medi-Cal) can have.

Resources/Links Mentioned in This Episode:

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