Medicaid planning strategies can help you to shield your wealth so you can qualify for Medicaid coverage if you need nursing home care. Medicaid planning is difficult because federal and state laws aim to prevent qualification for Medicaid coverage while you still have assets. However, you want to be able to protect your legacy and get your nursing home care costs covered whenever possible, so you should work with an experienced attorney to find out what options you have.
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. understands the laws on Medicaid, and understands regulations put in place by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We can provide invaluable assistance in finding out if you need Medicaid and what you must do in order to get covered. Our legal team can also help you to choose the correct Medicaid planning strategies so you can get Medicaid when you need it. Call today to find out more about how a Massachusetts Medicaid planning lawyer can help you.
Who Do You Need Medicaid Planning?
You need Medicaid planning because if you cannot qualify for Medicaid coverage, you are probably going to have to privately pay for nursing home care. Nursing home care costs more than $100,000 on average in Massachusetts, according to the 2015 costs of care study from Genworth Financial Inc. Most people cannot afford this, but you could end up facing these bills if you require routine custodial care in a nursing home setting.
Medicare and insurance providers will only pay for skilled nursing home care, not routine nursing home care, which means you likely have no source of insurance coverage for your care if you need it. If you must go into a nursing facility, you’ll have to spend down all of your money and assets if you have not made a plan.
Once you have impoverished yourself and have no more legacy to leave behind, you will finally qualify for means-tested Medicaid benefits. However, if you make your plans in advance of the time you need nursing home care and you have found ways to structure your assets so they do not count for Medicaid eligibility, you can get covered more quickly without losing your wealth.
Common Medicaid Planning Strategies
To be able to take advantage of the most effective Medicaid planning strategies, you will need to make plans to get covered by Medicaid at least five years before you actually need to get nursing home care. Medicaid has a five year lookback rule which results in your temporary disqualification from coverage if you have made transfers of assets within a five year period of time before trying to get covered. Since Medicaid planning involves asset transfers in most cases, you should act early. You could still potentially protect some of your assets if you have waited, but effective Medicaid planning becomes harder and fewer assets can be saved if you have waited until your need for nursing home care is imminent before you begin making your plans.
Some of the different Medicaid planning strategies you can consider include:
- Using various types of trusts. Trusts generally must be irrevocable and allow you limited or no control over trust assets in order to protect your wealth and ensure it does not count as a resource for Medicaid eligibility.
- Purchasing annuities. You may be able to purchase an immediate annuity in order to turn countable assets (the money used to buy the annuity) into an income stream.
- Using caregiver agreements. If you suspect nursing home care will soon be needed, you could create a caregiver agreement with an adult child in which the child is paid for care provided. The money paid to the child is not considered a gift that causes Medicaid disqualification, but the amount must be reasonable.
These are just a few of many different Medicaid planning strategies that your attorney can help you to consider making use of when making plans to try to get Medicaid covered. There may also be other strategies that make sense in your situation.
Getting Help from A Massachusetts Medicaid Planning Lawyer
The Law Offices of James A. Miller offers you comprehensive assistance with the Medicaid planning process in Massachusetts. We understand what is at stake when it comes to your financial security and we work hard to help ensure you are able to make a Medicaid plan that protects your legacy and allows you to leave something for your loved ones.
To learn more about why Medicaid planning is essential and to get help identifying the right Medicaid planning strategies to meet your needs, download a free estate planning worksheet. You can also give us a call at 866-370-3888 or contact us online to speak with a Massachusetts Medicaid planning lawyer who can assist you.
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