Medicaid planning may be something you aren’t even aware you need to do, but it can be one of the most important things that you do in building financial security and securing your legacy. Medicaid planning refers to the process of making sure you can get covered by Medicaid, but this explanation simplifies a complex issue. There is actually a lot to Medicaid planning, from determining when to start the process to understanding the pros and cons of different approaches to getting covered.
Kinghorn Law can provide assistance. Our legal team knows the rules for qualifying for Medicaid and we can help you to understand when and why you may need to get covered. We also help with the creation of a comprehensive Medicaid plan so you can get the care you need without spending your life savings. Give us a call at (520) 529-4000 to talk with a Tucson Medicaid planning lawyer and to get answers to important questions including:
• Why is Medicaid planning needed?
• What is involved in Medicaid planning?
• How can a Tucson Medicaid planning lawyer help?
Why is Medicaid Planning Needed?
If you reach the age of 65, there is a 40 percent chance you are going to need nursing home care on a temporary or long-term basis at some point during your remaining years. According to the Wall Street Journal, someone who has reached the age of 65 also has a 20 percent chance of spending at least five years in nursing home care before the end of their life.
A year in a nursing home can cost more than $100,000. Five years in a nursing home could cost half-a-million dollars. Most people don’t have this kind of money. If you do have this kind of money, you probably want to spend it on your family and children or on a charity… not spend it on nursing home bills.
Unfortunately, if you have not engaged in Medicaid planning, you will probably be spending your wealth on nursing home bills. This will be necessary because, unless you need short-term skilled medical service, Medicare and private insurance won’t pay for nursing home care. If you cannot qualify for Medicaid, you have no choice but to pay privately.
Many people who need nursing home care are not able to qualify because Medicaid has strict limits on eligibility. Those with too much income or too many assets are disqualified from gaining access to coverage.
For seniors who have property and a nest egg, this means spending down their wealth until they fall below the resource limits. When you have almost no assets left because you have spent all your money on nursing home care, then Medicaid will pay for your nursing home…. or you can make a plan to avoid this and get Medicaid to cover you right away when you need care.
What is Involved in Medicaid Planning?
The Medicaid planning process is focused on structuring the ownership of your assets to make certain those assets are not countable as the types of resources that would prevent you from being eligible for Medicaid coverage. You can protect much of your property and wealth by making a strategic plan for how your assets will be owned. Usually, this involves the creation of irrevocable trusts which you transfer assets into. There are also other Medicaid planning techniques your attorney can discuss with you so you can create a comprehensive plan.
When your assets aren’t counted as resources, you will be able to apply for and get approved for Medicaid when care is needed. Medicaid can pay for you to live in a nursing home and you won’t have to spend all of your own money on care.
There is a catch when it comes to Medicaid planning though. The problem is that Medicaid planning generally requires the transfer of assets. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services does not want you to just give away your assets when you need nursing home care, so there is a five-year lookback period imposed on Medicaid applicants.
If you made transfers of assets within five years from the time you apply for Medicaid, you can experience a disqualification period. This could mean you have to spend some of your personal assets during this time. If you plan far enough in advance, however, this does not have to happen to you.
How can a Tucson Medicaid Planning Lawyer Help?
A Tucson Medicaid planning lawyer at Kinghorn Law can provide you with assistance deciding when to make a Medicaid plan and going through the planning process. To find out more about how an experienced attorney can help you keep your assets safe and get nursing home care, give us a call at (520) 529-4000 or contact us online today.