Long-term care is something families should talk about before it becomes necessary. If you haven’t, October’s Long-Term Care Planning Month is a good time to have that conversation. Sometimes, families get caught off guard by the realities of long-term care, so it’s important to understand the realities.
If your dad has a stroke? What are the plans for his care? Medicare may cover his medical treatments, but that’s where it ends. If he needs support from home care aides for meals, housekeeping, laundry, companionship, and personal care, that’s an expense he faces on his own.
Medicare Doesn’t Cover All Aspects of Long-Term Care
You may expect your dad’s long-term care needs would be covered by his health insurance. It’s important to know that Medicare does not provide coverage for long-term care. It only helps in some short-term situations.
For example, your dad has a stroke and needs skilled nursing care while he regains speech, mobility, and fine motor skills. Medicare will help, but only for 100 days. After that, your family will have to figure out a way to pay for the care your dad needs.
If your dad decides to go home, he could have skilled nursing care at home, but Medicare won’t pay to clean his home, do the laundry, cook his meals, etc. Home care services are something you’ll have to help your dad with or hire a caregiver.
Medi-Cal Is California‘s Medicaid Program
Medi-Cal is the Medicaid program in California. If your dad needs financial help with his long-term care after a stroke, Medi-Cal can help. But, there are criteria he needs to meet. Specifically, he needs to meet the income guidelines of $18,075 per year for one person or $24,353 if your dad is married.
He may qualify for Aged & Disabled Federal Poverty Level Medi-Cal if his assets are less than $130,000 ($195,000 for a couple). It used to be that California’s had to be down to their last $2,000 (not counting the primary home and car), but the limits were changed and may now help your dad qualify.
Work With an Elder Law Specialist
The easiest way to ensure your dad’s long-term care needs are appropriately handled is by working with an elder law attorney who specializes in Medi-Cal. The process can be difficult to navigate, especially when you’re stressed. Therefore, let an attorney gather the information and fill out the application on your dad’s behalf.
When an attorney completes the application for your dad, he has a better chance of getting approval on that first attempt. That enables your family to ensure your dad gets the care he needs after a major health chain.
Arrange a consultation with an elder law expert. Go over your dad’s care needs and goals, and find out how Medi-Cal can help with his long-term care goals.