MEDI-CAL PLANNING FOR MARRIED COUPLES
The Spousal Impoverishment provisions of the Medicare Catastrophic Act of 1988 present additional opportunities to plan and qualify for Medi-Cal for married couples. The at-home spouse is entitled to keep, in 2017, a minimum of $120,900 of non-exempt assets. This is known as the community spouse resource allowance or CSRA. This, combined with the $2,000 property reserve that the applicant can keep in his or her name, allows the at-home spouse to have access to $122,900 of non-exempt assets.
After qualification, the nursing home spouse’s name must be removed from all assets making up the CSRA. In most cases, it is also advisable to have his or her name removed from the exempt assets, such as the home. This can only be done if the estate planning documents of the nursing home spouse grant the other spouse authority to make gifts or through a court order.
In addition, the law requires that each state establish a monthly income floor for the at-home spouse known as the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance or MMMNA. In California, the maximum MMMNA is used, allowing the at-home spouse to have a minimum monthly income of $3,023.