You have likely heard of the Medicaid program before; however, you may be laboring under a number of common misconceptions about the program. For example, you may believe that Medicaid is only for the poor when, in fact, the Medicaid program also helps a significant percentage of senior citizens as well. Whether for yourself or for an elderly loved one, you may need to have a better understanding of who Medicaid helps and how Medicaid eligibility works.
Medicaid is a predominantly federally funded health insurance program that is administered by the individual states. Although Medicaid does provide health care benefits to low income individuals and families, it also covers the disabled and the aged. Because of the high cost of long-term care there is a very good chance that you, or someone close to you, will depend on Medicaid coverage at some point in your life. In the State of New York, for instance, the average cost of a stay in a long-term care facility is close to $12,000 a month. With the average length of stay running about 2.5 years, the costs associated with a long-term care stay can become exorbitant. Furthermore, what many people fail to realize is that Medicare will not cover those costs nor will most private health insurance policies. For many seniors, Medicaid is the only option.
Medicaid does, however, look at both income and assets, even for applicants who are applying based on age. Although the income limit may not be a program for a senior on a fixed income, the countable resources limit might be. If you have countable resources that exceed the program limits you will need to “spend down” those resources before Medicaid will start covering the costs of your care. In essence, this means you must spend your life savings before Medicaid will start paying for your care. To prevent this from happening you should include Medicaid planning in your overall estate plan now. By incorporating Medicaid planning strategies into your estate plan now you can protect your hard earned assets as well as ensure that you will qualify for Medicaid benefits should you need them in the future.
If you have additional questions or concerns about Medicaid planning or estate planning in general contact the experienced New York estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia, by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.