Determining The Medicaid and Medi-Cal Snapshot Date — How Does Medicaid Do It?

The Medicaid “snapshot” date applies to married couples when only one spouse applies for Medicaid assistance with the cost of long-term care. Medicaid (also known as “Medi-Cal” in the State of California) calculates the assets of the married couple as of the snapshot date to determine eligibility for Medicaid benefits. 

This article explores the concept of determining the Medicaid snapshot date – how does Medicaid do it? 

A California estate planning attorney can explain how you might be able to qualify for Medicaid help with long-term care expenses.

An Overview of the Medicaid Snapshot Date

The spouse seeking long-term care Medicaid could be needing in-home, community-based, or nursing home care. The snapshot date can predate when the person gets admitted to the nursing home. In other words, the snapshot date has already passed before most people realize they will need help with the cost of long-term care. 

For example, if an individual applies for Medicaid benefits and services they will receive in their home or in the community, the snapshot date is usually the date of the Medicaid application. Sometimes, however, Medicaid will use the date on which the person had a functional needs assessment to find out if the individual meets the functional requirements for eligibility.

When a person applies for Medicaid benefits to help with the cost of nursing home services, the snapshot date could be on one of several dates. The individual had to have been an inpatient at a hospital or nursing home for at least 30 days without going home before they may be eligible for Medicaid long-term care. If a patient is directly admitted from a hospital to a nursing home, Medicaid will add the days of the hospital stay to the days at the nursing home.

How the Snapshot Works

The applicant for Medicaid long-term care will have to fill out an asset declaration form and financial documentation. The forms must provide sufficient details about the value of all assets owned by the applicant spouse and non-applicant spouse as of the snapshot date.

Medicaid will then add up the total countable assets of the couple. Not all assets count for purposes of Medicaid eligibility. When one spouse continues living in the community, that “community spouse” gets credited with having more than half of the assets of the couple, making it easier for the long-term care spouse to qualify for Medicaid.

The government agency will calculate the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) so that the community spouse does not have to become destitute to pay for the other spouse’s long-term care. In California, the asset limits are $2,000 for the long-term care applicant and $137,400 for the non-applicant spouse if the applicant will receive Medicaid benefits and services in an institutional or nursing home setting.  

Remember, not all assets count toward total assets for Medicaid eligibility. In California, the asset limits are the same for Medicaid waivers to receive in-home or community-based long-term care services. We understand that these Medicaid and Medi-Cal rules and calculations are confusing. You do not have to learn all the details and loopholes for yourself. A California estate planning attorney can help you navigate Medicaid and Medi-Cal long-term care issues. Get in touch with our office today for legal help, we offer a free consultation.