When it comes to government aid for estate planning and elder care, California’s Medicaid program Medi-Cal is one of the most available resources. Long-term care, whether at home, a nursing home or in assisted living is a service that many seniors require in their later years.
But the program is primarily reserved for low-income individuals and has certain limits in order to qualify.
Medi-Cal asset limits
The American Council on Aging defines assets as cash, stocks, investments, savings and checking accounts. The usual limit on these assets ranges between $2,000-$3,000 in total assets. Though there is some nuance if only one spouse applies while the other acts as the community spouse. In that case, the applicant spouse still has the $2,000 asset cap while the other non-applicant spouse has an asset cap of $130,380.
Medi-Cal income limits
According to the Department of Healthcare Services, Medi-Cal benefits have an income limit that depends on the household size of the applicant. With a family size of one, an applicant has an income limit of $17,609. This limit generally raises by about $6,000 per individual added to a family.
Medi-Cal spend down plans
If a senior’s assets or income exceeds these limits, that does not mean that they are out of luck. With the right estate planning, a person could show that they spend their excess on qualifying debts like medical bills or remodeling projects tailored toward a disability he or she may have.
For example, if the monthly income limit were $800 and a senior made $1,000, that senior could spend $200+ on medical debt and fall under the limit to receive benefits.
Knowing what to expect from the Medi-Cal program and planning ahead for these limits may help anyone when planning for the years to come.