Long-Term Medi-Cal: Where Do You Start?
Medi-Cal is a joint medical-welfare program of California and the federal government. Long-term Medi-Cal is California’s version of long-term Medicaid, which helps needy individuals pay for care in a skilled nursing facility (i.e., a nursing home).
Understandably but unfortunately, long-term Medi-Cal is a complicated program, and the state doesn’t always do the best job at explaining it to those who might benefit from it. To help those who are looking for more information on how long-term Medi-Cal could help them, I’ve compiled the following brief list of educational resources that I think are particularly useful.
Okay, okay, this one’s a little tongue-in-cheek—but only a little. It’s my job to help Californians understand long-term Medi-Cal’s benefits, plan to qualify for it, and apply to it. So I’m always happy to talk to my clients about the program and guide them through the application process.
But I’ve also written about it extensively on my website for anyone to review. You can find many posts on my blog that deal with eligibility requirements, the application process, what benefits are available, and many other aspects of long-term Medi-Cal and nursing home care. For your convenience, here are some of my posts that go over the basics:
- How Medi-Cal Can Help Pay for Skilled Nursing
- Five Tips to Qualifying for Medi-Cal Long Term Care
- 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Long-Term Medi-Cal Planning
- Planning for Long-Term Medi-Cal Requires a Long-Term View
- Medi-Cal Long Term Care Basic Eligibility
- Can I Qualify for Long Term Medi-Cal if I Have Too Many Assets?
- Long-Term Medi-Cal: Spend Down and Its Alternatives
- Medi-Cal FAQ: What is a Look Back Period of Ineligibility?
- Medi-Cal FAQ: What is the Look Back Formula Used by Medi-Cal?
- Long-Term Medi-Cal: What’s the Community Spouse Resource Allowance?
The Medi-Cal Application
- Have You Done These 3 Items Before Applying for Long Term Care Medi-Cal?
- Snapshot of the Medi-Cal Application
- Medi-Cal FAQ: What is “Share of Cost” And Can I Eliminate It?
The Medi-Cal Experience
Unfortunately, the state’s Medi-Cal website isn’t really directed towards individual Californians. Instead, the Department of Health Care Services maintains a separate website that provides only barebones information about the program, its eligibility requirements, and how to apply for it. Nonetheless, here are some resources that you may—emphasis on “may”—find helpful:
- Steps to Medi-Cal (Note: This doesn’t focus specifically on long-term Medi-Cal.)
- Medi-Cal General Property Limitations (Caveat: This information is from four years ago!)
- Tips to Speed Up Your Application for Health Coverage (Note: This doesn’t focus specifically on long-term Medi-Cal.)
- Medi-Cal Regulations (Note: Very useful if you’re having trouble sleeping!)
A handful of private nonprofit organizations also provide information about long-term Medi-Cal. Obviously, I cannot vouch for all of the information those organizations provide, but they can be useful in developing your understanding of long-term Medi-Cal. One that I would like to highlight for its in-depth coverage is the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform’s Medi-Cal Information page.
The Best Resource
Ultimately, the best advice I can give those who are trying to learn more about long-term Medi-Cal is this: You don’t have to go through the process alone—either the process of educating yourself on the program or of applying for it. And you’ll be better off working with an experienced Medi-Cal planning attorney (like me!) than by trying to do it on your own. So, if you have questions about long-term Medi-Cal or are considering applying, please contact me!