Some Differences Between Medicaid and Medi-Cal

     Medicare is a Federal health insurance program. Social Security funds are used to pay the costs of the program. Individuals who are over the age of 65, and who have made Social Secuirty contributions during their working lives are entitled to benefits. Part A of Medicare pays for hospitalization, hospice and some health care. It also pays for rehabilitation in a nursing home for specific periods of time. Part B is designed to pay for outpatient hospital care and doctors’ visits. Co-payments, deductibles and monthly payments may be required for Part B.  

     If a person is hospitalized for three days under Medicare, and then goes into a skilled nursing facility (SNF), Medicare will pay pay 100% of the bill for up to 20 days in the SNF. After that, for days 21 to 100, Medicare will pay only for 80% of the cost. During this time, the Medicare recipient will be required to make a co-payment, through supplemental insurance or will pay privately.

    After 100 days, there is no Medicare coverage for a SNF. After that time, you must pay privately, pay through your long term insurance policy (if  you have one) , or qualify for Medi-Cal to pay for the SNF. The average stay in a SNF under Medicare is under 24 days. Medicare and Medi-Cal are two different programs, and are not related to each other.

     Planning for Medi-Cal qualification should be made early on, through your elder law attorney. There are qualification requirements with regard to assets, income,  spending down, gifting, and a share of cost which goes to the the nursing home. There are legitimate and legal methods through the Medi-Cal regulations to protect assets and create qualification for Medi-Cal. You may visit our web site at htt://, for information on how to plan for and how to qualify for Medi-Cal. The estate planning documents, including the financial durable powers of attorney and revocable living trust are usually updated to include government benefits and asset protection language. If a client loses mental capacity, and this language is not present in the estate planning documents, qualification for government benefits, including Medi-Cal, and asset protection is much more difficult.

 Written Michael J. Young,, elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young, who also advises on Medi-Cal qualification, asset protection, nursing homes and the VA Aid & Attendance qualification, serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties in CA, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc.

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