Medicaid Planning Strategies
Medicaid is extremely complex. Each state has different rules and regulations for the program, but even within a single state you may have multiple sets of rules depending on the region you are in or your health status. At the same time, Medicaid is an excellent resource for long-term care solutions, and, when done correctly, can reduce the cost of long-term care solutions many times over.
In addition to the changing rules, the application process is lengthy, and a denial can be a huge wrench in your plans if you need coverage right away. In Florida it takes 30-60 days to process a Medicaid application, meaning you may have tight timelines between when you need Medicaid funding and when you get it. The role of Medicaid planning is to maximize the possibility that an elder will be approved for Medicaid without draining the assets in the process.
Asset Protection and Resource Preservation
Medicaid has strict limits on income and assets that need to be met for acceptance. Depending on your financial situation, you may be forced to liquidate assets before you are able to qualify for Medicaid. Careful Medicaid planning can minimize this or avoid it altogether. Medicaid planners help transfer countable assets into exempt assets, protect family homes from Medicaid recovery, create trusts, manage finances, and ensure a healthy spouse still has enough money to continue living on their own.
When Do I Need a Medicaid Planner?
The easy answer to this question is simply: when you are considering using Medicaid to pay for long term care for you or a loved one, and you think you may not qualify because you have too many assets. That being said, hiring a law firm to handle your Medicaid planning may not be the best fit depending on your circumstances.
When to Hire a Law Firm
In Florida, public employees are available to help with basic Medicaid planning for free. There are also nonprofits and advocacy groups that offer free assistance such as the American Council on Aging. That being said, you may not qualify for these free services depending on your financial situation.
It is time to hire a qualified planner when you have too many assets to qualify for free assistance and a simple solution like an irrevocable funeral trust does not suffice or will do more harm than good. Another signal than it is time to hire someone is when you and a spouse make more than the income limits. There are also family situations that can benefit from hiring an outside Medicaid planner:
- Both spouses require care.
Without careful advance planning, this is a situation that bankrupts many households. This situation often leads to the parents becoming a burden on their adult children more quickly than anticipated. When neither spouse is healthy, it also becomes more difficult for one of them to take the reins in planning.
- Only one spouse requires care, but the other plans to move out of the family home.
This situation can sometimes happen when the healthy spouse wants to move in with children to be closer to family or move to a rental property to be closer to the care home their spouse is in. At least one spouse in a couple needs to remain in a home for it to be protected from Medicaid asset repossession, so advanced Medicaid planning is required to make this work.
- The elder is looking to preserve specific assets for their heirs.
It is always a good idea to engage a Medicaid planner when you are not sure if you can preserve a specific asset for future generations. It is best to begin this process when the elder is still healthy because it gives the most wiggle room to look at a multitude of solutions.
To learn more about the Medicaid planning process and strategies, click here.
Contact Us Today for Help
At Millman Law Group, we offer Medicaid planning services that can help protect whatever assets you are looking to retain. It doesn’t matter whether it is just the family home or a complex system of investments; we can help. To learn more about Medicaid planning or to schedule a free consultation, contact us.