When Should I Begin Planning for Medicaid?

While it can be tempting to put off evaluating programs like Medicare and Medicaid, planning ahead for your use of these programs and understanding what you will qualify for is essential. To clarify, Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage if you are 65 and older or if you are under 65 and have a disability. This program is available to anyone, regardless of their financial situation. Medicaid, on the other hand, is an additional state and federal program that provides health coverage for those with lower incomes.

Differences Between Medicare and Medicaid

While Medicare has clear age eligibility requirements, Medicaid does not — it is available to those that qualify at any age, based on income and assets. If Medicaid is a part of your long-term care plan as you age, don’t wait until you need assistance — ideally, you should consult with a trusted attorney to flesh out your options and coverage at least five years before you foresee needing Medicaid, especially for something like a nursing home or other costly medical needs. Planning ahead will help you understand what Medicaid and Medicare will cover, and may give you warning in case you need to plan for additional provisions or coverage. 

Medicaid is only available to those with demonstrated financial need. The program evaluates your countable assets, not including your vehicle or home, and determines what you’re eligible for on a federal and state level. Every state has a different maximum income for qualification, and those figures can change over time. Consult your state government or an attorney to find out specifically what your state requires. 

Medicaid FAQs

Can I qualify for Medicaid if I have a high income?

While Medicaid is primarily designed to assist individuals with limited income and resources, eligibility criteria can vary depending on the state and specific circumstances. Even if you have a higher income, you may still qualify for Medicaid if you meet other eligibility requirements such as having a disability or being aged 65 or older. Our experienced attorneys at McCarthy Law, LLC can assess your situation and guide you through the Medicaid eligibility process.

Is it necessary to deplete all my assets to qualify for Medicaid?

Medicaid has specific rules regarding asset limits, but you are not necessarily required to deplete all your assets to qualify. Various strategies exist to help individuals protect their assets while still meeting Medicaid eligibility requirements. These strategies may include establishing trusts, transferring assets, or utilizing exemptions. Our knowledgeable attorneys at McCarthy Law, LLC can provide personalized advice and help you navigate the complex Medicaid asset planning process.

Can I apply for Medicaid on my own, or do I need legal assistance?

While it is possible to apply for Medicaid on your own, the application process can be complex and time-consuming. Having legal assistance can be beneficial, especially if you want to ensure that your application is accurate, complete, and meets all the necessary requirements. At McCarthy Law, LLC, our attorneys have extensive experience with Medicaid applications and can help streamline the process, increasing your chances of a successful application.

I’ve been denied Medicaid in the past. Can McCarthy Law, LLC help me appeal the decision?

Yes, we can help. If your Medicaid application has been denied, it is crucial to act promptly and file an appeal within the designated timeframe. Our skilled attorneys at McCarthy Law, LLC have a deep understanding of Medicaid regulations and the appeals process. We can evaluate your case, gather additional evidence if needed, and advocate on your behalf during the appeal to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Can McCarthy Law, LLC help with Medicaid planning for long-term care?

Absolutely. Planning for long-term care, such as nursing home expenses, is a crucial aspect of Medicaid planning. Our firm specializes in elder law and Medicaid planning, including long-term care strategies. We can help you explore options like asset protection, long-term care insurance, and Medicaid-compliant annuities to ensure you receive quality care while preserving your assets to the maximum extent possible.

How can McCarthy Law, LLC assist with Medicaid estate recovery?

Medicaid estate recovery refers to the process where the state seeks reimbursement for Medicaid expenses from the estate of a deceased Medicaid recipient. Our experienced attorneys can provide guidance and assist in developing strategies to minimize the impact of estate recovery. By utilizing legal tools and techniques, we can help protect your assets and ensure that your loved ones receive the inheritance you intended while still complying with Medicaid regulations.

Planning Ahead

Based on your situation, it may be advantageous for you to create a trust while you plan for Medicaid and before receiving benefits. It’s always best to consult a lawyer to structure the trust in the way that makes the most sense for you and your beneficiaries, but in summary, it can protect your assets both from being the subject of evaluation when it comes to Medicaid, and also protect your assets from being eaten up by long-term medical care expenses. 

Understanding what and how to qualify for programs like Medicaid can be complex, but at McCarthy Law, LLC we are experienced in estate planning and Medicaid. We can help you make a plan for the future now so that when the time comes, you and your loved ones are secure and you are cared for. 

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