Anyone who needs care in a Georgia nursing home will be shocked to find the monthly bills totaling many thousands of dollars. Sadly, unless you’re getting skilled medical services for a limited period of time, your private insurance likely will not cover any of this care. You’ll be left paying out of pocket in most cases, unless you’ve taken care of Medicaid planning in advance.
Pyke & Associates, P.C. provides help with Medicaid planning. While you may not realize the importance of making a plan to qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, the reality is virtually everyone should have such a plan in place. To find out more about why Medicaid planning is necessary and to get personalized advice on the process, give us a call at 770-507-2500. You can also reach out to one of our experienced Atlanta Medicaid planning lawyers to get answers to common questions including:
- What exactly is Medicaid planning?
- When should I start Medicaid planning?
- How can an Atlanta Medicaid planning lawyer help me?
What is Medicaid Planning?
Most people have heard of Medicaid, even if they aren’t sure what Medicaid planning is. Medicaid is a means-tested insurance program run by the government. A partnership between the federal and state government ensures there are funds available to cover medical costs of people with low incomes and limited resources. However, Medicaid is available only to people with little money and few or no assets.
Because you cannot qualify for Medicaid if you have any substantial amount of money or property, many seniors will not be eligible for benefits since they likely have a paid-for house, retirement funds, and other money in the bank. The problem is, Medicaid is virtually the only form of insurance which pays for custodial care in a nursing home. Custodial care is the type of routine care which is the reason why the vast majority of people go into a nursing home.
If you cannot qualify for Medicaid, and no other insurance will pay for a nursing home, you’ll have no option but to spend your own money when nursing home care becomes necessary. After you’ve spent all you worked for and the legacy you wanted to leave your loved ones is gone, Medicaid will finally begin to pay your nursing home bills.
Medicaid planning is all about getting Medicaid to pay the bills sooner. This means making strategic transfers of assets so ownership can be structured in such a way that your assets won’t count for Medicaid eligibility purposes. In other words, you can transfer assets to an irrevocable trust, make gifts, and otherwise take steps to keep your assets safe and qualify for Medicaid sooner.
When Should Medicaid Planning Begin?
Medicaid planning typically involves transferring the assets you want to protect into a trust. The problem is, Medicaid doesn’t want to provide you with coverage for nursing home costs just because you’ve given your assets away.
To try to prevent people from giving away all their property as soon as they realize nursing care is necessary, Medicaid has a five-year lookback period. When you apply for benefits, Medicaid looks back five years. If you’ve given away money or property (or sold assets for far less than their worth), Medicaid will temporarily disqualify you from being eligible for benefits… even if you own few resources on paper.
The length of the period of disqualification is determined by dividing the value of assets transferred by the average monthly nursing home cost. The number this calculation gives you is the number of months Medicaid won’t pay for your nursing home. This means if you want to protect the maximum value of assets, you’ll need to finish the Medicaid planning process at least five years prior to the time you end up requiring nursing home care.
How can an Atlanta, GA Medicaid Planning Lawyer Help?
The Medicaid planning process is complicated, as most people don’t know what type of trusts to use, how to create them, or how to make sure assets don’t count when qualifying for Medicaid.
If you need assistance with this process, Pyke & Associates, P.C. can help. We have extensive experience offering aid to clients in Atlanta, Stockbridge, Peachtree City, and surrounding locales in Georgia. Give us a call at 770-507-2500 or contact us online to discover more about how our Atlanta Medicaid planning lawyers can help you keep your property and wealth safe, even if nursing home care ends up being required for you.