Medicaid planning is one of the most important parts of protecting your financial security as you think ahead to your golden years. Qualifying for Medicaid can mean the difference between leaving a legacy and spending down all of your wealth. It is imperative that you are prepared to get Medicaid coverage if you need it. This worksheet can help.
This Medicaid planning worksheet can guide you through some of the basic steps of making certain your assets are protected and ensuring Medicaid will cover you when and if you need it. Some of these steps are complicated, though, so it is typically a very bad idea to try to handle the Medicaid planning process alone. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can provide you with invaluable assistance making your Medicaid plan. Give us a call to get help from our New York Medicaid planning lawyers.
Medicaid Planning Worksheet: Do You Need a Plan?
Answer these questions to determine if you need a Medicaid plan:
- What is your age and disability status? If you are blind, disabled, or 65 and up, eligibility rules differ from Medicaid for younger people, including both single parents and individuals and couples with no kids.
- What is your resource level? You need to consider income, resources (assets and property owned) and family size. For example, if you have a family size of two and are 65 or older, disabled, or blind, you are allowed an annual income of $14,500 and and are allowed resources valued at up to $21,750. Any more income or resources than this amount could mean you do not get Medicaid. There is a full table on the website of the New York Department of Health which you can look at to find out income and resource limits based on your family size.
- Do you have coverage for nursing home care? Most insurance doesn’t cover nursing home care. Medicare and private policies don’t pay unless you need skilled medical care and they limit coverage to brief periods of time. This means you probably don’t have coverage unless you can qualify for Medicaid.
- Can you afford nursing home care and other medical costs? Nursing home care costs thousands. Other care can be expensive, even with Medicare, because you have coinsurance costs and Medicare premium expenses. Getting Medicaid to cover you can save you a lot of money.
If you want to get nursing home care and other costs covered by Medicaid, rather than paying privately, but your income or resource limits are above allowable amounts, you need a Medicaid plan. You need this plan so you can protect your assets and become eligible for Medicaid when you require coverage.
Medicaid Planning Worksheet: Protecting Your Assets
If you need a Medicaid plan, you have to consider what assets you hope to protect. Certain property will not disqualify you from getting Medicaid coverage, but it could still be lost due to Medicaid estate recovery (a process by which the state makes a claim on your estate after your death to recoup money it spent on your care).
You should make a list of the assets that you own which you want to ensure you can protect. Include:
- Investment accounts: Detail what type of investment accounts you have. Are they general investment accounts or special types of accounts like IRAs or 401(K)s which have different legal protections.
- Annuities: Annuities can pay a fixed amount to you, affecting your income levels for Medicaid eligibility.
- Insurance policies: List all of your insurance policies, including cash value insurance policies which could affect Medicaid eligibility.
- Checking and savings accounts: List account info and account balances.
- Real and personal property: Houses, cars, and other items you own can sometimes count as resources. Owning too much could affect eligibility.
When you have a complete list of the assets you own, an experienced attorney can provide you with assistance in making a Medicaid plan that is aimed at protecting the money and property you have worked hard to acquire.
Medicaid Planning Worksheet: Implementing Your Plan
Ideally, your Medicaid plan should be created at least five years before needing nursing home care. Life does not always work that way, though, as you may experience an unexpected health issue that lands you in a nursing home way before you expected to need nursing home care.
There are still ways to protect some of your wealth and assets, even if the need for nursing home care is imminent. However, the maximum benefits from Medicaid planning come when you make your plans at least five years before care is needed.
This five year time frame is important because it is a look back period. Medicaid looks back for five years to see if asset transfers occurred. Asset transfers are a key part of a Medicaid plan. Once Medicaid discovers asset transfers have taken place, you will be temporarily disqualified from Medicare for a period of time determined by the number of months equal to the value of transferred assets divided by average nursing home care costs in your area.
An experienced attorney can assist you in taking the Medicaid planning steps you can take based on your timeline for when care is needed In most cases, the creation of an irrevocable trust is the best approach; however, you may also have other options as well. A Medicaid planning lawyer can provide assistance in trust creation or in taking the other appropriate steps to shield your assets from being lost while making sure you can get care costs covered.
Contact a Medicaid Planning Lawyer
This worksheet should help you to determine if you need a plan and can guide you through the basic process of getting ready to make your Medicaid plan. If you want to go ahead with taking steps to ensure you can get nursing home care covered without losing a lifetime of accumulated wealth, give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team. A New York Medicaid planning lawyer is ready to provide the assistance you both need and deserve.