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Paying for Senior Care in California

Sep 13, 2012 at 10:08

When it comes to finding a senior living facility, one of the most frustrating aspects can be deciding how to pay for it. It can be especially daunting for low-income seniors, who may not have the savings to pay out of pocket for their long-term care. For residents of California, there are several great options for funding assisted living, skilled nursing, and more. With a little bit of research and planning, you will most likely be able to find a payment solution, no matter your income.

About Medi-Cal

In California, Medicaid is known as Medi-Cal. This joint state and federal program is intended for low-income elderly and disabled residents. In order to qualify for Medi-Cal you must meet certain financial requirements either as a couple or as an individual, which includes both income and assets. A couple’s income must not exceed $1140 per month, while individuals are limited to $850 per month. For a couple, their total assets should not be more than $3000 total, and $2000 for an individual. Homes and vehicles are not counted towards the calculation of assets. Even if you exceed the limits for assets and income, you may still be able to qualify for Medi-Cal. If you have high care costs but exceed the income limit, the state’s spend-down program known as Share of Cost will make it easier to qualify. If your assets are over the limit, a Medi-Cal planner can work with you in order to bring you into compliance with the program requirements.

Assisted Living and Nursing Facilities

You can expect to pay $3500 per month on average for assisted living facilities in California. However, in more expensive areas such as San Mateo, Santa Rosa, and Marin County, you may need to pay as much as $4200 per month. If you also require specialized services, such as memory care, it will cost up to $1200 more per month on average. Fortunately, Medi-Cal offers an Assisted Living Waiver program in some areas of the state. While Medi-Cal will generally pay for eligible seniors to stay in skilled nursing facilities who accept Medi-Cal, there are also waiver programs for those seniors to receive home care. To find out more about what Medi-Cal will and will not cover, contact your local Medi-Cal office.

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