When it comes to Medicaid planning, you can never be too careful. Even if you think you’re making all the right decisions, it’s best to consult with a legal professional who can review your strategy to ensure that you’re on the right track.
In short, Medicaid planning allows you to make key decisions that will put you in position to qualify for Medicaid benefits in the future. As long as you are working within the limits of the law, there is nothing wrong with implementing a plan that works in your favor.
Even though you may have an understanding of Medicaid planning, it doesn’t mean you necessarily know the exact steps to take. This is why it’s essential to discuss your options with an attorney, paying close attention to all the steps you should take now and down the road.
With all that out of the way, it’s time to examine some of the most common Medicaid planning frequently asked questions:
- What is Medicaid?
Before you learn more about Medicaid planning, you’ll first want to better understand what this government program is all about.
Medicaid.gov defines Medicaid as follows:
“Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that, together with the Children’s Health Insurance Program, provides health coverage to over 72.5 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Medicaid is the single largest source of health coverage in the United States.”
As you can see, Medicaid is responsible for bringing healthcare to tens of millions of Americans. Although you may not be eligible for Medicaid today, you could make key financial planning decisions that allow you to receive benefits in the future.
- Are you eligible to receive Medicaid benefits?
This depends on many factors, however, here is what you need to know: federal law requires that states cover particular groups of individuals. These include: low income individuals and families, qualified pregnant women, qualified children, and individuals who receive Supplement Security Income (SSI).
States have the individual right to cover other groups of people, so it’s important to learn more about the system managed by the state in which you live.
- Why is Medicaid planning so important?
There is no short answer to this question, but there are several reasons why people go through the Medicaid planning process.
For example, Medicaid Planning is important if you’re hoping to protect your assets from nursing home expenses as you age.
Furthermore, you can make decisions, such as gifting assets, to improve your ability to obtain Medicaid benefits in the future.
- What are the best Medicaid asset protection strategies?
This depends largely on your personal situation, but there are many strategies you can use to your advantage. Although the Deficit Reduction Act has changed what you are able to do, there are still strategies that have been proven effective.
Some of the best Medicaid asset protection strategies include: paying for certain Medicaid expenses, making gifts to family members at the appropriate time, and creating an irrevocable living trust.
It can be a challenge to understand how these Medicaid asset protection strategies work, so you should not hesitate to consult with a knowledgeable attorney.
- Does Medicaid always pay for care in a Skilled Nursing Facility?
One of the biggest benefits of the Medicaid system is that you can use the benefits to pay for nursing home care. However, this only comes into play if you have limited assets and qualify for the program in your state.
On the plus side, Medicaid definitely pays for nursing home care for millions of people. Conversely, there is no guarantee that this will happen. For example, you need to follow the right process for gifting assets to qualify for Medicaid. If you don’t, you may be penalized, thus realizing that you don’t have the help you thought when it comes time to pay nursing home expenses.
Have Your Questions Answered
These are some of the more common questions associated with Medicaid planning. As you can see, it’s important to first understand the Medicaid system. From there, you can learn more about your personal situation and make decisions based on what’s best for you and your family.
As you begin to ponder the many questions associated with Medicaid planning, don’t hesitate to speak with a legal professional. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you know the ins and outs of the system, just to find that nothing could be further from the truth.
Remember, if you make mistakes in regards to Medicaid planning, it could hold you back from receiving benefits in the future. This is why you need to answer all your questions and address all your concerns upfront.