Medicaid and Medicare are both federal health insurance programs, but there are important differences.
While Medicare provides health insurance for people age 65 or older and the disabled of all ages, it does not pay for extended care in a Nursing Home or other long-term care (such as “in-home” care). Current 2017 estimates for yearly nursing home care in Staten Island are as high as $14,000.00 per MONTH. Luckily, in many circumstances these costs can be covered by Medicaid, but in order to qualify, a person’s income and assets must fall below a certain level. Even if you are a very wealthy individual, there are likely some asset protection strategies that may be available to you so that you can preserve your wealth while receiving the care that you need.
In general, Medicaid covers Doctor visits, Hospital care Long-term care either in your home or a Nursing Home, Medications and Medical Supplies. The key however is getting approved for the benefits. That is where a skilled Medicaid Asset Protection Attorney can be an important ally. There are complex eligibility rules that need to be navigated, and one misstep can mean the difference between eligibility and non-eligibility, or in layman’s terms, tens of thousands of dollars.
If assets are too high, a patient may have to enter a nursing home on a private payment basis and “spend down” to the Medicaid eligibility level before receiving coverage. Although the individual’s home is excluded from the assets calculations, Medicaid can bill the estate for care after the patient passes away. In practice what happens is that Medicaid will put a lien against the house which needs to be repaid upon the death of the Medicaid Recipient. In this regards, some planning BEFORE the need for Medicaid benefits is present can help keep your hard earned assets in your family.
The biggest element of confusion among my clients takes place when we discuss the Medicaid “look-back” period, during which certain gifts affect eligibility, preventing a person from simply giving his or her property to his or her children right before entering a nursing home. These rules are again very complex and need to be handled by someone with a keen understanding of how the process works.
We can prepare and submit your Medicaid application and represent you before the local Medicaid agency if necessary. You can approach the application process confidently, knowing that you have the best available information, preparation and support from our team. We can also implement Medicaid-related documents, including a Durable Power of Attorney, trusts and wills to help you create one complete plan for your future and the future of your loved ones.