10 Medicaid Tips

Do you have questions about Medicaid and need legal assistance? Check out these 10 Medicaid tips, then give our Buffalo attorneys a call now.

Long-Term Care Insurance

10 Medicaid TipsLong-term care insurance is highly recommended for a number of reasons. Medicaid laws are constantly changing, and eligibility requirements are often tightened. Because of these regular changes, individuals should obtain this long-term care insurance while they still qualify and are healthy. Also, while long-term care insurance covers in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care, Medicaid does not cover most types of assisted living, and it is limited to in-home care. Under the New York Partnership Program of Long-Term Care Insurance, after the benefit’s drawn over three years, eligibility for Medicaid is automatic regardless of the amount of one’s assets. Discussing long-term care insurance with one’s legal advisors can help to prepare in case of significant medical need.

Nursing Home Costs

Planning for the cost of nursing homes is crucial, as this type of care is a significant financial responsibility. The cost of nursing homes may be paid from one’s fixed income, investment income, Medicare (to a certain extent), long-term care insurance, VA pensions, and even Medicaid, as a last resort, if the eligibility requirements are met.

Nursing Home Care Requirements

A client recently asked me about the eligibility requirements for Medicaid for in-home care or for nursing home care. In order to be eligible for Medicaid, an individual can have assets of no more than $14,850. However, there are various exceptions to that rule. For in-home care, one’s income cannot exceed $845.

Nursing Home Admission with Medicaid

Clients often ask me whether or not they will be able to get into a nursing home if they’re paying only with Medicaid. The law prohibits nursing homes from discriminating against patients that are soon to go on Medicaid. However, the reality is that they will often say that beds are not available. When you’re doing your estate planning and Medicaid planning with your attorney, you may want to consider whether or not you would wish to get into a good nursing home and hang on to your assets, rather than gifting assets and being denied a good nursing home.

Emergency Medicaid Planning

There is a method for preserving assets if a person has never done any prior Medicaid planning and finds him- or herself in a nursing home. This method is known as a promissory note, which allows the person preserve half of her or his assets so that only one-half the assets are used for nursing home care. This is a generally accepted principle that can be accomplished if one has a power of attorney with a statutory gift rider, or if a guardian is appointed. In either case, the court order may provide that this emergency Medicaid planning can be utilized to preserve your assets for the individual’s family.

Institutionalized Spouse

If one’s husband or wife is in a nursing home and receiving Medicaid, consulting with an attorney about updating one’s will can offer protection later on. Disinheriting a spouse in a nursing home can prevent assets from being paid to the nursing home in the event that one dies before the spouse.

Medicaid Look Back Period

Clients often ask about the look-back period for Medicaid eligibility. The look-back period is five years. When a person applies for Medicaid, it will be mandatory to provide all of her or his financial and bank records going back five years. For every $10,078 that the person has given away, he or she will be disqualified from Medicaid for one month. This is known as a penalty period.

Prepaid Funeral Arrangements

In order to be eligible for Medicaid, you can only have $14,850. However, Medicaid does not consider a prepaid funeral account. In order the take advantage of this, you should consult with your funeral director and do a pre-planned funeral arrangement account.

Qualifying for Medicaid with a 401K or IRA

Currently, in order to be eligible for Medicaid for nursing home care, individuals can only have $14,850 in assets. However, if an applicant has an IRA or a 401K that is in a payout status, and he or she is at least 70 1/2 years of age, the IRA itself is not considered to be an asset for eligibility purposes.

Spending Down Assets

For Medicaid eligibility, an applicant can have only $14,850 plus a number of exempt assets. In order to become eligible, applicants have the option of spending down their assets. Medicaid recipients are entitled to have one automobile, and to reach the $14,850 threshold, applicants can make improvements to their home and pay off debts.

If you have more questions after reading our 10 Medicaid tips, contact Robert Friedman, one of our experienced Buffalo Medicaid Lawyers. Get the legal assistance you deserve.

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Every one of our elder law attorneys cares about seniors, their needs, and their individual situations. We understand that you’ll be sharing personal information with us and be making tough decisions. We will listen to your thoughts, concerns and will evaluate your needs, all while helping you find the best way to fulfill them.

Friedman & Ranzenhofer provide caring, experienced and knowledgeable representation to residents in WNY.  Let our knowledge guide you through the process.

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