Q: What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
A: Medicare is health insurance for people over sixty-five. It pays for limited hospital stays, doctor visits, and medical tests. It covers only limited skilled nursing care. Medicaid is health insurance for limited income people who meet certain economic and medical criteria for eligibility – it does cover the costs of nursing care.
Q: What is Medicaid Planning?
A: Medicaid Planning involves developing a plan to reallocate your assets in such a way that Medicaid will not take them into consideration when determining your eligibility for coverage. If nursing home care is needed in the future, you will then qualify to have Medicaid pay for the cost of care, rather than depleting all your resources to cover these costs.
Q: How can we find out if we’re eligible for Medicaid coverage?
A: Medicaid eligibility is based on the amount of your monthly income, your assets and your medical needs. If your assets are within the very low limits set by Medicaid, you may qualify for coverage. The Law Office of Meg Elizabeth Goblet, P.C.'s job is to protect your assets in such a way that they are not included in Medicaid’s determination of whether you qualify for coverage.
Q: Why should I apply for Medicaid coverage?
A: Most families cannot support the enormous cost of nursing home care. Those who fall within the qualification guidelines for Medicaid may be well advised to apply for coverage. The program offers people a means of providing a decent level of skilled nursing care for their loved one.
Q: How do I know if we’re eligible for Medicaid coverage?
A: To put it simply, eligibility is based upon your ability or inability to pay long-term care expenses. Medicaid allows each state to establish specific standards for eligibility based on personal income, assets and medical needs. The general standard is that the applicant can be eligible for coverage if the couple’s “countable” assets (cash, investments, etc.) and income fall within state-designated limits.
Q: If my spouse goes into a nursing home, will I have to give away most or all of my assets in order to protect them from being taken to cover the cost of care?
A: No. Under federal Spousal Impoverishment Protection rules, you can receive Medicaid benefits and retain your home, your vehicle, your household effects, and “countable” assets up to a state-determined maximum.
Q: I hold joint accounts with my kids. Are they safe?
A: No. Medicaid treats any asset with your name on it as yours unless you can overtly prove that the joint owner actually contributed assets to the account. To learn more about options for asset protection, contact us today.
Q: Can I protect assets by transferring them to my kids?
A: No. If your children get into financial trouble, the assets become available to their creditors. If your children go through divorce, the assets may become available to their spouses through divorce settlements. If your children have health problems, the assets may be at risk, as well. In any case, by transferring your assets, you are losing control of them. In addition, Medicaid now has a 5 year look back for all transfers made without consideration.
Q: Are my assets safe in a revocable living trust?
A: No. General rule of law holds that whatever you can access, others may access as well. Assets in a revocable living trust are open and available to you; therefore, they are also open and available to Medicaid. For details on this and other Medicaid Planning Issues, contact us today.
For more about Medicaid planning options, contact Attorney Meg Goblet at 719-686-9700.