Elder Law and Long-Term Care Planning
We help you take care of yourself and your loved ones through careful planning.
Elder law includes many different aspects of estate planning, including disability planning, senior housing, long-term care planning, nursing home and in-home care, Medicare, and Medi-Cal.
We can help you and your family plan for the future by helping you understand your options. We will discuss your specific needs, help you develop a plan, and carry out the next steps. If you or a loved one is in need of guidance, please contact us today.
The Cost of Nursing Home Care
One of the most challenging issues that families face is the cost of nursing home care. In California, the cost of a nursing home is approximately $8,000 per month, or just under $100,000 per year. The average stay is a little over two years.
Because of this, over two thirds of nursing home residents in California are on Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid). Unfortunately, most people believe they have to spend all of their money before they can qualify.
Careful planning, however, can allow you to preserve your assets for your spouse or children. If you or a loved one is in a nursing home or may enter one soon, please give us a call and we can help.
Medicare and Medi-Cal (Medicaid): What’s the difference?
What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California)? Despite the similar sounding names, they are two completely different programs.
Medicare is health insurance for people age 65 and older provided by the U.S. government. Medicare is broken down into three separate parts: Part A, Part B, and Part D. Most people have Part A without any premium payment, as they paid into it during their working years. Part A covers hospital and emergency medical care. Part B has a monthly premium, and covers non-hospital medical care, like doctor’s visits, tests, and outpatient procedures. Part D, which is optional, is prescription drug coverage. If you noticed we skipped a letter: Part C. Part C governs privately offered insurance plans that meet Medicare’s requirements.
A common misconception is that Medicare will pay for nursing home care. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Medicare will cover up to 20 days of rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility immediately following a hospital stay, and in some circumstances a portion of an additional 80 days, but none beyond that. If you are not in rehabilitation or have exceeded the 20 days (or 100 day) limit, Medicare will not cover any of the costs.
If you would like to learn more about Medicare, please click here.
Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California, is a means-tested government program that provides health care services to low-income individuals and families. There are many different programs available under Medi-Cal, but in the context of elder law and long-term care planning, we are usually talking about Long-Term Care Medi-Cal. If you are eligible, Medi-Cal will cover the entire cost of a nursing home. If eligible, Medi-Cal may also be available to pay for some or all of in-home care that you need.
You may believe or may have even been told by someone that you are not eligible for Medi-Cal. Unfortunately, while that person has good intentions, they may not be fully informed as to the complex eligibility rules and regulations of Medi-Cal. Often we find that people who were told they were ineligible can in fact qualify for Medi-Cal Long-Term Care benefits.
We Can Help
We can help your family make planning decisions, including whether Medi-Cal may be an option. Contact us today and we will help you create a plan for the future.