Medi-Cal Loopholes and Exempt Assets

medi_cal_estate_planning_campbell_caMedi-Cal is the California version of the federal Medicaid program.  Medi-Cal is linked with all public assistance programs, such as Supplemental Security Income and In Home Supportive Services.  It even pays for nursing home care when an individual needs long term care after MediCare expires.

Often individuals or couples qualify for this public assistance even with income and resources.  While the limit for countable resources (assets) for an individual is $2,000 there are many assets that do not count toward that limit.


Exempt Assets That Do Not Count Toward the $2000 Limit

  • Residence – Should you intend to return home
  • Car
  • Retirement accounts
  • Term life insurance
  • Some annuities
  • Certain other assets


Good News Even When Medi-Cal Qualification Gets Complicated

When there is a healthy spouse the qualifications become more complicated.  However, the good news is that the “well spouse” can have $115,920 of non-exempt assets (this figure goes up every year).  An even more surprising idea is that we can increase that amount if the spouse needs the money to produce an income to live on.

Medi-Cal planning takes forethought.  An individual who does not qualify today may be eligible next month with the proper planning.  Someone who has capacity to do the planning may have a degenerative disease that will result in incapacity in the future.  It is best to have a consistently competent person overseeing the process when doing this planning, or any other kind of estate planning!  Thinking ahead and being strategic is essential.


What if Medi-Cal Planning was not Done?

The fall back position is to use the court if planning was not done before incapacity.  Medi-Cal planning is possible for an individual who lacks capacity.  It just takes a court order and perhaps a conservatorship of the person. It is always best to ask questions of a legal professional with experience in Elder Care Law. If you are in the San Jose area, feel free to make use of my Free Legal Consultation Certificate.


estate_planning_living_trust_preparation_losgatos_Diane M. Brown, Esq.
Working every day to keep my clients out of court!
It’s your money… Let’s keep it that way!
Call 408-364-1234



This blog contains general information and is not meant to apply to a specific situation. Please seek advice of counsel before proceeding as each case is unique.

Photo Credit: Diane Brown’s photo by Lisa Whalen and a special thank you to Corbis via the Microsoft Image Library for the use of additional images found in this blog post.

One Response to “Medi-Cal Loopholes and Exempt Assets”

  1. Warren January 24, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    I’m so interested with this one. It will really help us in the future. I just want to ask if planning fees varies?

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