California Elder Law
Serving Clients and their Families in Santa Clarita, Valencia, San Gabriel Valley, and the Surrounding San Fernando Valley Area
Elder law is as unique as the clients we help. Elder law focuses primarily on the needs of the elderly client as they age, suffer from early or advanced dementia, have progressing medical needs, require assistance with activities of daily living, and ultimately, must often consider receiving care in a care facility. It involves identifying what type of care the senior needs, what those needs will likely be in the future, and what appropriate care options are available while making a plan to pay for that care. It involves maximizing needed services, and minimizing costs. It involves planning for Medi-Cal, for VA Aid and Attendance benefits, getting the "affairs in order", and protecting a lifetime of hard-earned assets from the high cost of care and the State of California recovery unit.
The Long Term Care Dilemma
As our population ages, Elder law-related issues have become commonplace. Many seniors unavoidably become nursing home residents due to stroke, dementia, diabetes, or many other health issues. Seniors are often discharged to skilled nursing facilities for short term rehabilitation after a hospital stay. Once in the facility, the senior often is unable to return home due to their high care needs, and their inability to care for themselves, or afford care in the home. The senior then becomes a nursing home resident, as the care needed is specialized and provided day and night. Long-term nursing home care is not covered by insurance, and averages $8,500.00 per month in California. Unfortunately, many individuals and couples utilize all their personal assets to pay for this care, and do not consider Medi-Cal benefits to significantly assist with the expenses.
Careful planning can help protect your assets, whether for your spouse, for you if unforeseen or special expenses arise, or for your children. The Medi-Cal eligibility rules are stringent, and depending upon the assets and income, a personalized asset protection plan should be created and implemented. The result: obtain the needed care, obtain Medi-Cal long term care benefits to help pay for that expensive care, and preserve/protect hard earned assets.
Clients are frequently confused over the differences between Medicare and Med-Cal. Though their names are very similar, the programs are quite different. Medicare is a federal health insurance program in which most people enroll when they turn 65 years old. There are no financial qualification rules. Medicare has two primary parts: Part A and Part B.
Medicare Part A covers in-hospital care, extended care after a hospital stay, some home health care services, and hospice services. The rules for nursing home coverage are very strict and, in fact, Medicare pays for less than 9 percent of nursing home care in this country.
Medi-Cal is the California version of Medicaid. However, the Medi-Cal rules are completely different than the federal Medicaid rules followed by other states. Fortunately for our seniors and those needing skilled nursing care, California provides many more opportunities to preserve and protect assets than other states.
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR.org) and the California Department of Elder Affairs provides a wealth of information for seniors and care givers.
We assist seniors and their families in making the tough decisions regarding long-term care planning, including whether Medi-Cal eligibility may be an option, how to qualify, and then assist in asset restructuring/transferring assets, creating Asset Protection Trusts, and other methods for Medi-Cal planning. We also assist in locating the appropriate care facility, reviewing the options available, preparing and submitting the Medi-Cal application, and representing the Client through the Medi-Cal process.