Medicaid

How Medicaid Planning Made Me Aware Of Our Precarious Aging Process

The Need For Medicaid Planning

We all yearn for health and prosperity in the second half of life. Despite careful planning, circumstances can send us down another path. As if it wasn’t enough to worry about our own future, what about our elders’ current situations?

Ending up in a nursing is one of the greatest fears of older Americans. Not only does this entail loss of personal autonomy but also an incredible financial price tag. Nursing homes cost between $35,000 and $150,000 a year, depending on location. Most pay for nursing home care out of their own savings — until it runs out. Then they qualify for Medicaid to pick up the rest.

NOTE: In the state of Minnesota, the Medicaid program is called Medical Assistance.

Is Medicaid Planning For You?

Medicaid planning, whether in advance or in response to immediate need for care, helps protect your estate. A major advantage of paying privately is the higher likelihood of getting into the best quality facility. Other ways to hedge your bets is with long-term care insurance. Regardless your financial status, make certain that you receive all benefits to which you are entitled under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Truth be told, Medicare, our government health care program for seniors, covers very few nursing home costs. For some medical costs not covered by Medicare, Medicaid can supplement Medicare payments. Medicaid is the largest source of government funding for nursing home care. The Medicaid program enacted in 1965 by the federal government and is administered by the states to help pay medical costs for financially needy people. Medicaid need is defined by the program of the state in which the applicant resides.

Medicaid Planning Myths Debunked

Getting help to pay your loved one’s nursing home costs via the Medicaid program is not a Do-It-Yourself project. Even that wonderful attorney who handled all your speeding tickets may be in the slow lane when it comes to Medicaid. A Medicaid attorney deals with the bureaucracy everyday and must keep up with neverending legislative changes of government from federal, state and local.

Medicaid Can Take Your Home

Medicaid considers all assets in either spouse’s name when one spouse enters a nursing home. There are specific property protections for the spouse remaining at home. These vary by state and are based on a percentage of the couple’s total assets. The qualified Medicaid attorney will carefully protect the value of your assets. The amount kept can almost always be increased with expert legal advice.

Give Away Your Assets To Protect Them

You don’t have to be destitute to qualify for Medicaid. You don’t have to give away assets to protect assets. It’s also true that some asset transfers disqualify you from Medicaid assistance. Depending on circumstances, there are ways to protect your assets, like asset protection trusts, without loss if long-term care is needed. The qualified Medicaid attorney can help retain control over assets now and in the future.

Wait 36-60 Months For Medicaid After Asset Giveaway

Generally, in Minnesota, the State and County will look-back to any transfers within 60 months of the application. A transfer within that time frame might lead to a period of ineligibility. To avoid ineligibility,WL Brown Law Office encourages buying exempt assets as part of Medicaid planning. Purchasing exempt assets is a way to spend down your current dollars and be within the asset requirements of Medical Assistance.

Medicaid law does penalize some asset transfers depending on three criteria:

  1. Is this kind of transfer penalized?
  2. What was the value of the transfer?
  3. What is the applicable state’s formula for calculating the penalty?

Each state calculates average monthly cost of nursing home care and divides that into the value of the asset given away. The qualified Medicaid attorney can determine your asset transfer situation.

Seniors Want Medicaid Planning

Despite careful planning, circumstances can find us or loved ones in a nursing home. Ending up in a nursing home is one of the greatest fears of older Americans. It comes with an incredible financial price tag! Medicaid planning with a qualified Medicaid attorney is a wise investment.

Is Medicaid Planning For You?

Is Medicaid Planning For You?