Medicaid is a joint federal and state program available to people who meet certain asset requirements that help pay for long-term care costs. Long-term care unfortunately often presents financial challenges for individuals in the United States including both the elderly as well as others who provide care for family members and lose income as a result. Despite these potential challenges, Medicaid is still one of the best methods in countless situations to pay for long-term care. Adequate planning for Medicaid can let you qualify for the program without experiencing financial hardships. To better help you navigate Medicaid, this article reviews some important tips to understand about the Medicaid planning process.
# 1 – Inform Yourself in Advance
Given that it is both a federal and state program, Medicaid standards differ based on the state in which a person lives. While other states have different names for the system, New York state calls the program Medicaid. A person in New York qualifies for Medicaid if that individual has high medical bills, receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or meets certain financial requirements. Unfortunately, however, many people wait to learn about Medicaid until catastrophic events occur that necessitate immediate planning. An increased risk exists during crisis that a person will listen to misinformed individuals. If you have any questions or concerns about Medicaid or the role it can play for your loved one, it is a much better idea to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.
# 2 – Medicaid Qualification Does Not Always Require Spend Down
With adequate planning, a person can qualify for Medicaid without having to first spend down all of that individual’s assets. Instead, it is often possible to create a financial and logical plan to resolve long-term care issues. By relying on legally approved strategies to qualify for Medicaid, it is often possible for a person to qualify for Medicaid before spending everything that an individual owns on the cost of nursing home care.
# 3 – Have a Spouse Update Their Estate Planning Documents
If you plan on qualifying for Medicaid, the spouse who does not receive Medicaid should consider reviewing their Last Testament and Will as well as other estate planning documents. If the non-qualifying spouse passes away first, the surviving spouse could potentially be removed from Medicaid when the surviving spouse receives an inheritance. It is similarly just as important for a non-qualifying spouse to adequately update bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and other asset ownership accounts that hold important assets.
Obtain the Services of a Skilled Elder Law Attorney
The estate planning process is complex but critical if you are interested in properly arranging for end of life issues. One of the best things that you can do to make sure that you have the best estate plan possible is to obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable elder law attorney. Do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm today and during a free case evaluation, one of our lawyers can discuss your available estate planning options.