Understanding Medicaid Planning

Medicaid is a federal and state program which helps many Americans cover their healthcare costs. With the rising expenses of nursing homes and other personal care services, more and more elderly people are relying on Medicaid.  

Specific laws govern who may qualify for Medicaid.  Each state sets how much financial money and assets are allowed.  The amounts differ if a person is single or married. Because there are income limits and asset limits restricting who qualifies, it is important to have a plan in place to ensure that you will qualify for Medicaid when you need it.

“Medicaid Pre-Planning” 

Pre-planning is a five-year legal and financial plan. Pre-planning allows a person to have a wider array of options to customize plans to meet personal situations and needs. The approaches that you should take for medicaid planning depend on whether you are planning in advance or planning in the midst of a health or financial emergency. 

Often seniors or a person with a disability may have a health diagnosis that will worsen in the future. Many times, the elderly person does not have long-term care insurance or enough money to cover expensive medical costs.  It is vital to seek legal advice on how to pre-plan if you will not be able to meet medical costs and expenses. 

Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts (MAPT)

Medicaid asset protection trusts are a valuable tool for Medicaid pre-planning. A MAPT is an  irrevocable trust, which means you cannot cancel or change them once they are created. If you put your extra money into this type of trust with someone else named beneficiary, the money no longer belongs to you and therefore no longer counts toward your asset limit. There are pros and cons to consider as one of the strategies to protect your funds.

If you decide this is the right option for you, it is important to have an attorney’s assistance in creating your trust. An incorrectly created trust can cause major problems when you try to qualify for Medicaid. It is also essential to create this kind of trust at least five years before you will need to apply for Medicaid, or you will be in violation of the look back rule in Missouri.

“Medicaid Crisis Planning”

Medicaid crisis planning helps seniors who have too many assets and are faced with a medical diagnosis and have no plan in place to pay for medical costs.  With crisis planning, there is no 

five-year pre-plan in place or an emergency situation occurs and the person needs Medicaid before the end of  five-year plan. 

Seniors with a recent diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimers, stroke victims and those with a brain injury usually require crisis planning to avoid losing most, if not all, of his or her estate.  Sometimes a person is already on Medicaid and may receive an inheritance or personal injury settlement. In that case, it is important to work with a lawyer for a plan to avoid losing Medicaid or other government benefits.

If you are planning in a crisis, there are different strategies to help protect assets.  A spend-down is only one option, but may not be the best strategy. An experienced attorney works to develop the best strategies to help you qualify for Medicaid, especially if you do not have long term care insurance.

Who can help me with Medicaid planning? 

Whether you are in a crisis, want to plan for the future, or just have questions about qualifying for Medicaid, Sheri Tucker, Esq. with Tucker Legal Services, LLC can help. She has extensive experience helping clients make effective plans for affording long term cases. To get started, call Tucker Legal Services, LLC at (314) 332-0011.

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Tucker Legal Services LLC

When you choose Tucker Legal Services, LLC, you choose an experienced attorney and law firm that believes an estate plan is a life plan. The firm strives to build lifelong relationships with clients and help them adjust their plans as their needs change. The firm’s goal isn’t just to help you with an estate plan and send you on your way.
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