Five Things You Need to Know About Medicaid
Consulting with a Medicaid planning lawyer is vital, because there is a very substantial chance that you could come to rely on Medicaid as you get older or if you develop a serious health condition. Zimmer Law Firm can help you to determine if qualifying for Medicaid is something that could become important to you. We can also help you to make a proactive plan to get Medicaid to cover you when you require care that isn’t covered by most other types of insurance policies.
Many people have misconceptions about Medicaid because they think it only covers low-income individuals. While Medicaid is a means-tested government benefits program, it is also a very important source of coverage for seniors who may develop serious health issues or who may need nursing home care.
A Medicaid planning lawyer at Zimmer Law Firm will work closely with you to create a comprehensive Medicaid plan that is appropriate to your life stage, so give us a call. We can also help you to understand why Medicaid planning is so important, and can explain to you the truth about Medicaid coverage. While there is a lot to know about how Medicaid works, here are five key facts that you should consider to help you understand why it is so important to make a Medicaid plan.
Medicaid Covers Millions of Seniors
Medicaid provided coverage to around 97 million Americans at some point in 2015. A total of 6 million of those Americans were senior citizens, according to The Motley Fool. The reason Medicaid covers so many seniors is because a substantial number of seniors need long term care or nursing home care.
Medicaid May be the Only Source of Nursing Home Care Coverage
Seniors need Medicaid to cover nursing home care because most other insurance won’t cover it. Medicare pays for skilled nursing care, which is provided by someone with medical training. If you just need custodial care, or routine help with activities of daily living, you are not going to get Medicare to cover any part of this care.
Medicare Advantage policies, Medigap policies and many private health insurance policies also don’t pay anything for custodial care at all. While it is theoretically possible to get your care covered by buying a long term care insurance policy, the costs are usually too high to buy this kind of coverage and the coverage may be too limited for it to be a viable source of payments for care you need.
Medicaid Spends a Significant Portion of It’s Budget on Long-Term Care
Medicaid spends close to 30% of its budget on long-term care, the Motley Fool explains. In just one year alone, Medicaid spent about $158 billion on community-based long term care and care in institutional settings like nursing homes. As the population gets older and more people end up needing nursing home care, Medicaid spending is expected to rise significantly on nursing home care costs.
Medicaid is Means-Tested and There are Resource Limits
If you want to get Medicaid to pay for your nursing home care, which could be vital because nursing home care costs thousands of dollars monthly, you cannot own too many resources. Medicaid has asset limits and if your countable assets are in excess of the maximum resources you are allowed to own, Medicaid will deny you coverage until you have essentially impoverished yourself.
You could end up having to pay privately for nursing home care or long term care and could potentially even be put into a position where some of your assets have to be sold. After you’ve spent your money and lost your property – thus losing the chance to leave your desired legacy – Medicaid would only then begin to pick up the tab for nursing home care.
Medicaid Has a Five-Year Look Back Period for Eligibility
Many people think they can just give away their money or property and get Medicaid to pay for the costs of their care. This is not true. If you transfer assets for less than fair market value or if you just give away your wealth, this triggers a disqualification period. Medicaid looks back over five years of transactions from the time you apply for benefits to see if there were disqualifying transfers of wealth during that time period. You will need to make a Medicaid plan at least five years before you need care or will need to work with an experienced attorney to do crisis planning if you need care imminently and want to protect as much wealth as possible.
Getting Help from A Medicaid Planning Lawyer
Zimmer Law Firm offers comprehensive help with the Medicaid planning process. To find out about the assistance that we can offer you, join us for a free seminar or give us a call at 513.721.1513 today.