What Seniors Need to Know About Medicaid Planning
Medicaid planning is a way for seniors to access the long-term care benefits provided by Medicaid, without bankrupting themselves with nursing home bills in the process. However, Medicaid planning can be complicated and small mistakes may make you liable for large penalties. That is why it is extremely important to work with a skilled Medicaid planning attorney who can answer all of your Medicaid-related questions and help you plan for the future.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a public program that provides medical care to people who have income and assets below a certain threshold. Medicare is different from Medicaid. People who are 65 or older will automatically qualify for Medicare, however only Medicaid provides benefits for long term care such as nursing homes.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Medicaid?
In order to be eligible for Medicaid in Florida you must have an annual household income under a certain amount and also be pregnant, a parent or relative caretaker of a child, blind, have a disability, or be 65 or older. You also cannot have certain kinds of assets over a certain amount of value. The rules around this are in depth and constantly changing, so you should talk with a qualified Medicaid planning attorney for specifics.
What Does Medicaid Planning Entail?
Medicaid planning is a process that takes assets that would generally be counted for the purposes of the Medicaid assets limits and turns them into non-countable assets. For example, money in a savings account would be counted as an asset, while certain properly structured annuities would not. It may also involve transfers of property outside of the lookback period.
What is the Lookback Period?
The current lookback period in Florida is five years. That means that when someone applies for Medicaid in Florida, they will look back for five years to make sure there were no transfers of property for below market value during the lookback period. This is to prevent people applying for Medicaid from giving property away to family members for the sole purpose of getting on Medicaid. However, just because you have made gifts during this period does not automatically make you ineligible for Medicaid.
Who Can Help Me with Medicaid Planning?
While there are many professionals who are very knowledgeable about Medicaid, the rules are constantly changing and even a minor mistake can result in thousands of dollars in penalties. That is why it is crucial to work with qualified Medicaid planning attorneys. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court has found that non-attorneys engaging in certain Medicaid planning related activities are engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you are concerned about how you will pay for long term care and think that Medicaid planning would be a good option for you, you should contact a knowledgeable Medicaid planning attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced Medicaid planning attorneys at Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group in The Villages, Florida can help you with all of your Medicaid planning needs.