Most people are aware that Medicaid is an insurance provider for low income individuals. What you may not be aware of, however, is that Medicaid is one of the primary payers for nursing home care services throughout the United States. Medicaid pays for nursing home care for many people because Medicare and private insurance don’t cover custodial care in a nursing home. Nursing homes are prohibitively expensive, so all but the very wealthy are going to need help covering costs.
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Unfortunately, because Medicaid is needs-based, it may be necessary to spend down assets before you can get the coverage you need to get nursing home bills paid. The good news is, however, that you do not have to lose a lifetime’s work before Medicaid kicks in. If you create a Medicaid plan in advance, you can shield your assets and get Medicaid coverage without needing to spend down your nest egg or sell property. The Law Offices of Cheryl David provides assistance to clients with Medicaid planning. Give us a call to find out how to protect your assets, get nursing home care covered, and get answers to questions including:
- When should I get started with Medicaid planning?
- What is involved in Medicaid planning?
- How can a Guilford County, North Carolina Medicaid planning lawyer help?
When Should I Get Started with Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid planning may not be something you think about until you start to need costly medical care or until the need for nursing home admission is imminent. Unfortunately, if you have waited to start planning to qualify for Medicaid until you need services, you will have a problem. This problem is the Medicaid five-year look back period.
Medicaid looks back five years from the time of your application to find out if you’ve transferred any money or property or assets and to discover if you’ve given away or sold anything of value for below what it was worth. If you’ve transferred money or other assets, you’ll face a period of disqualification.
The amount of time you’ll have to wait for Medicaid to pay for your nursing home will be determined by the number you reach by dividing the value of transferred assets by the average nursing home cost in your area. Whatever this number is when you do this division is equal to the number of months you’ll have to wait before Medicaid will start paying for your nursing home.
Because of the five year look back rule, you could be forced to spend a lot of money on nursing care before Medicaid pays… if you didn’t plan ahead well in advance. You don’t want to get caught needing Medicaid and not being able to get it so you should start with Medicaid planning as soon as possible. If you have assets you don’t want to be counted when determining if you qualify for Medicaid, the time to start planning is now.
What is Involved in Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid planning involves finding a strategic solution to ensure your assets do not actually count as assets when you try to apply for means-tested Medicaid benefits.
Generally, Medicaid planning involves the creation of an irrevocable trust and the transfer of assets into that trust so those assets are protected. However, there may also be other steps you wish to take as part of creating your comprehensive plan. Your attorney can help you to explore all legal tools and avenues for protecting as much of your money and property as possible while getting Medicaid coverage if you have costly medical expenditures or need nursing home care.
An experienced attorney can also help with issues such as protecting income of a person whose spouse has to go into a nursing home, or protecting access to Medicaid when leaving a financial gift for a disabled person.
How Can a Guilford County, North Carolina Lawyer Help with Medicaid Planning?
The Law Offices of Cheryl David understands the rules for Medicaid planning and can help with the process of protecting your assets. We know you’ve worked very hard over your lifetime to build a legacy that you can leave behind. Having to go into a nursing home shouldn’t mean financial devastation and it should not mean that those you love have nothing to inherit. You owe it to yourself and your family to take steps now to protect your assets and we are here to help.
Our legal team assists clients in Greensboro, NC, Guilford County, and surrounding regions of North Carolina with the Medicaid planning process. Give us a call now at (336) 547-9999 or contact us online to learn about the personalized assistance we can offer you.