Everyone has a general idea of what Medicaid is. However, most people don’t take the time to go through Medicaid Planning. Maximizing quality of life as we grow old is a goal toward which we should all strive. One of the best ways to ensure the lasting quality of life into our golden years is through long-term care planning.
Why Do I Need Medicaid? Won’t I Have Medicare?
Medicare, like Medicaid, is a state and federally funded health care program that provides health insurance for people 65 and older. However, Medicare does not pay for extended care in a skilled nursing facility or other long-term care.
Why People Put off Medicaid Planning
There are numerous reasons people put off Medicaid planning. The most common myths that people believe include:
- I won’t qualify
- I’m not that old.
- I don’t know where to start.
- It’s expensive.
- It’s complicated.
- I don’t have time.
When it comes to excuses like these, we are here to tell you, plan now. Proper Medicaid planning is critical to sustaining your standard of living down the road, especially if you want to stay in your home.
Why You Should Start the Medicaid Planning Process Now
The state of New York defines Medicaid as a wide-ranging, state and federally funded health care program. This program is primarily for low-income individuals and covers pregnant women, children, disabled individuals, and New York senior residents over 65. However, Medicaid planning is no longer just for low-income individuals. The cost of long term care facilities are so exorbitant that even middle class long islanders receive Medicaid assistance.
If eligible, Medicaid covers:
- Hospital care
- Long-term care in your home or at a skilled nursing facility
- Physician’s services
Medicaid offers seniors long-term care programs, but eligibility can get complicated as it will vary across each program based on income, assets, and marital status.
Medicaid planning is a part of elder law planning that can help you become eligible for Medicaid assistance, even if you think you may not qualify due to income or assets. Medicaid Planning is essential considering Long Island nursing homes and home health care are expensive. Planning for the expense of nursing home care, home health care, assisted living facilities can seem far off.
Planning today is critically important because of specific rules allowing Medicaid to look at your assets years before you apply in what is known as a look-back period. Currently, in the state of New York, the look-back period for Nursing Home Medicaid is five years. During this time frame, Medicaid checks all past transfers to ensure no assets were gifted or sold for less than they are worth. Suppose they determine that you violated the look-back period. In that case, you can be penalized with a Medicaid penalty period, meaning you will be ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time.
Before you need Medicaid assistance, planning will ensure that your quality of life and peace of mind will continue well into the future. Even if you did not plan early, the elder law planning attorneys at Sheryll Law, P.C. may still be able to help you qualify for Medicaid.
Our experienced attorneys know the Medicaid planning tools that can help you avoid the pitfalls of Medicaid eligibility, including:
- Placing assets into irrevocable trusts
- Gifting of cash and assets to family members
- Purchase of long-term care insurance
- Purchasing annuities
- Transferring the title to your home to intended beneficiaries
Proper use of these tools can lower the income and asset base that Medicaid will use to determine eligibility.
What Happens If I Put Off Medicaid Planning?
Improper planning can have a detrimental effect on your eligibility for Medicaid. You could be penalized with a Medicaid penalty period, meaning you will be ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time.
Simply put, if you put off Medicaid planning, you may not be eligible for long-term care programs. Don’t wait until you need nursing home assistance to begin planning for Medicaid. Call us today to get started.
Sheryll Law P.C. offers elder law and Medicaid planning services for our clients. Our attorneys assist with setting up cohesive strategies for long-term care planning to make in-home and nursing home care affordable and worry-free. When it comes to something this important, you need an ally, someone who can advocate on your behalf. Contact us today at (631) 206-5893, or complete our online form so you can begin to prepare for the future.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
Sheryll Law, P.C.
633 East Main Street, Suite 2
Riverhead, New York 11901