Medicaid Planning Frequently Asked Questions
Qualifying for Medicaid requires a detailed analysis of your assets and planning for the options available for you and your loved ones. Our attorneys do their best to answer questions our clients have and direct them towards preparing for securing Medicaid benefits if that is the best choice for them. We have included some of our most commonly asked questions below and also have a playlist of videos with many more answers to additional elder law questions online too.
Click on the linked questions below to quickly navigate to their answers:
Q. What documents will I need to complete a Medicaid application?
- The types of documents you need are basically verification of all of your financial affairs. So where do you receive your income. They’re going to need to receive a verification letter from your pension company, from Social Security, and bank statements for example. Everything needs to be not just by word of mouth, but needs to be proven on a document. In addition, they’ll want forms of identification such as your birth certificate, your driver’s license, and if you served in the military.
Q. What are the advantages of hiring a law firm to help me qualify for Medicaid?
- The issue with qualifying for Medicaid is that it’s a multifaceted approach. There are certain assets that count and do not count and there are certain ways to protect assets. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, so having an elder law attorney take a comprehensive look at your needs is really important. There are other factors, like when someone passes away that did receive Medicaid. How do we make sure we protect the assets so that Medicaid does not receive the entire estate when someone passes? So there’s a lot of different intricacies. Sometimes people will use financial planners that sell certain products and apply for Medicaid through them. Again, you don’t want such a narrow focus, an elder law attorney looks broadly at all the things that you need to take into account.
Q. What is the Medicaid look back period?
- The look back period is a five year period from the date of application for Medicaid benefits where the government can ask you what you’ve done with your money. What they’re really looking for primarily is for transfers, gifts to loved ones and things of that nature. If you have given money away during this five year period, the presumption is that you did so for Medicaid qualification purposes and that can lead to a penalty period.
Q. What is Medicaid proactive planning?
- Medicaid proactive planning is basically taking a position where you want to plan in advance for something that may be coming. Often family members may have a diagnosis with a loved one and think that one day, their loved one may need long-term care. By coming in advance, we can look at many more options than we can if they had waited until there was a crisis upon us.
Q. What is Medicaid crisis planning?
- Medicaid crisis planning is often defined as a loved one needing to apply for Medicaid possibly in the next year or often it’s the person’s already in the nursing home and needs to figure out how to pay for that bill as soon as possible. So when we do Medicaid crisis planning, often we meet with the family on an emergency basis and we get our boots on the ground right away to help them in any way we can to get eligible for Medicaid as soon as we can if that seems practical.
Q. Why isn’t every senior relying on Medicaid to pay for their care?
- The reality is that the Medicaid system helps many especially in nursing home, home health care and assisted living situations. While there are benefits, often there’s other ways of paying for care that are much more advantageous to the individual. So someone that can afford to have home health care, by all means that is something they should really look into. Often clients are looking at continued care retirement communities so they could maybe live in independent living, but eventually if their condition worsens, they could transition into assisted living or things of that nature. So really taking a comprehensive approach is what is the most advantageous to an individual.
Q. Will Medicaid cover my assisted living or nursing home?
- In Florida we have a budget that definitely supports people who are in nursing homes and receive Medicaid benefits. Medicaid funds are also there for people that are in assisted living or in-home care, though they often have to go on a waiting list. Now there is an exception to that which is if someone goes into a nursing home and is approved for Medicaid while in the nursing home, but can later transition back to assisted living or to their home. There is assistance that’s available to them since the government wants to promote someone becoming less dependent on the government.