When Should Medicaid Planning Start?
Medicaid planning is a process used to try to get Medicaid to pay for nursing home care. Medicaid is one of the primary payers of nursing home costs within the United States because nursing homes are so expensive. Unfortunately, Medicaid coverage for nursing home care is available only to people with limited means and with few or no assets. Since many people need Medicaid to cover nursing home costs when they are seniors, this puts these elderly individuals in a bad situation because they may have assets acquired over a lifetime. The equity in a home, the value of property, and the money a senior has in the bank could all add up to too many assets to qualify under Ohio’s Medicaid rules.
Medicaid planning works to protect assets and get Medicaid to pay for nursing care when you need it. However, to be most effective, a plan has to be created long before you need to go into a nursing home. A Montgomery Ohio Medicaid planning lawyer at Zimmer Law Firm can assist with the process of Medicaid planning. Contact us now, because getting started early can be essential to helping to preserve and protect your nest egg.
When to Start Medicaid Planning
Medicaid planning should start when you have amassed assets of value that you want to ensure are protected. You should consult with an experienced attorney to determine what should be involved in creating your plan. In general, the goal is to ensure assets are not counted when determining if you can qualify for Medicaid. One of the most common options for people who want to plan ahead to secure Medicaid coverage is to create a trust and transfer ownership of assets they wish to protect into that trust. If the trust is the asset owner instead of the individual, then the assets are not considered in an assessment of Medicaid eligibility. Other approaches, such as strategic gifting, may also be included in a comprehensive Medicaid plan.
The process of developing and carrying out a plan is not something that can wait until you actually believe you will need nursing home care because then it will be too late to get the maximum protection for assets. There is a five year lookback rule which is intended to ensure people do not just give away their possessions to get Medicaid coverage. When you apply for benefits, a review is made of transactions from the past five years. If you transferred ownership of assets (including into a trust you created), you will have a period of disqualification. If you gave away assets, you’ll also be temporarily disqualified from Medicaid.
The disqualification period is determined based on two factors: how much the value was of the assets transferred and what the average nursing home cost is. The asset value is divided by average monthly nursing home cost, and the resulting number is the number of months for which you are ineligible for Medicaid.
You can still protect some of your assets, even if you do need nursing home care soon. There are protections for spouses, for example, and you could still transfer some of your money or use it to make strategic purchases which will not disqualify you for Medicaid coverage. However, if you have not started the process of Medicaid planning early, you stand to lose more than you otherwise would if you have a plan in place as soon as you acquired a lot of assets that you wanted to protect.
How a Montgomery Medicaid Planning Lawyer Can Help You
Nursing home costs are extremely expensive, and it is devastating to many elderly people to see everything that they have worked for over the course of a life of hard work be spent on a few short months or a few short years in nursing home care. Unfortunately, if you need nursing home care, there is typically no other option but to seek admission and to pay for it in any way you can. Private insurance doesn’t cover nursing care, nor does Medicare, except for limited situations and for brief periods such as for rehab after hospital admission. Unless you have purchased long-term care insurance, Medicaid planning may be your only option to get the bills paid.
The Montgomery Medicaid planning lawyers at Zimmer Law Firm can provide you with advice on how Medicaid planning can work to help protect your assets. We can also guide you through the process of creating your comprehensive asset protection plan. Give us a call at 513.721.1513 or browse our special reports to learn more.