Medicaid and Your Long-Term PlansSeniors entering their retirement years are often concerned about planning for their future medical needs.  Some may have private health insurance policies in place while others plan to be mostly reliant on Medicare.  For many, it may be a surprise to learn that their insurance and Medicare will not include the coverage associated with long-term care.  Without specialized long-term care insurance in place, a person needing these often expensive services will either have to pay out-of-pocket or turn to Medicaid for coverage.

What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care services are personal care services which a person needs when they have a condition which inhibits their ability to take care of their daily living tasks.  These services typically include care provided in the person’s home, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or adult day care center.

Medicaid and Long-Term Care

While it would seem that private health insurance or Medicare would cover all medically necessary services, their coverage does not extend to long-term care.  Although the recipient has to option to pay for their long-term care out-of-pocket, the costs are usually very high and paying for them is not feasible for most people.

The good news is that Medicaid does pay for long-term care expenses.  However, in order to qualify for Medicaid, the recipient will not be allowed to have many assets.  Further, if someone finds themselves with countable assets, they cannot simply give them away in order to qualify for Medicaid when they need long-term care. The reason being that the Medicaid program will look at your financial transactions over the five-year-period before you file for Medicaid and can count certain transactions against your eligibility period.  Fortunately, there are actions you can take to protect your assets.  However, without proper planning, it could end up that some of your estate will have to be used to repay the program.

Long-Term Care Insurance

One way to avoid relying on Medicaid to cover potential long-term care expenses would be to obtain long-term care insurance.  However, it is important to note that long-term care coverage is not ordinarily offered to people once they need long-term care. Therefore, this kind of insurance will need to be procured long before the need arises.

Planning for your future medical care is essential.  While Medicaid may be the right choice for you, there are several aspects of the program you will need to prepare for in order to protect your assets.  Our office can provide advice regarding planning for your estate and long-term care expenses.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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