Experienced Lawyers Help You Navigate Complex Medicaid Issues
Safeguarding the Health of Clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
It’s human nature to be concerned about the issue of aging. Perhaps the most frightening of thoughts centers on the possibility of having to move into a nursing home and how to pay the exorbitant bills associated with cost of living as we age. If you are over 65 or are permanently disabled, you may qualify for Medicaid to cover doctor visits, hospital stays, prescriptions, nursing home care and other healthcare needs.
You can reduce stress and save money by planning ahead. Speak with a knowledgeable lawyer at Bratton Scott who will review your situation and discuss ways to reduce tax liabilities and preserve your assets.
How the Medicaid Process Works
When you apply for Medicaid, even if you appear on paper to qualify, information will be collected in an effort to determine your final eligibility. Medicaid will want to determine the full value of your assets including your home, investments, IRAs, life insurance, and bank accounts. (Note that your car, personal items, and household items are exempt up to a pre-set limit, depending on in which state you reside.) Medicaid will also review your expenses including mortgage, taxes, medical bills and credit card balances.
Simple calculations will determine your eligibility. If your assets are valued over the set limit in the state you reside, you will be turned down for Medicaid.
Medicaid Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for Medicaid in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, a person must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or a qualified immigrant.
- Be 65 years of age or older, blind or permanently disabled
- Be pregnant or qualify as a family with dependent children
- Meet specific standards for financial income and assets
- In some cases, children and younger adults can also qualify for Medicaid
Will Medicaid Pay for Nursing Home Care?
Since just one year in a nursing home can cost over $120,000, it doesn’t take long for most people to deplete their assets. As such, they turn to the government for help. In many cases, Medicaid will pay for custodial nursing home care for someone age 65 or older who is able to prove that level of care is medically necessary.
However, Medicaid and nursing homes have become more aggressive in requiring nursing home applicants to pay for at least a part of the bill — sometimes over $10,000 a month! Each state has its own Medicaid guidelines subject to some federal standards. Additionally, each state has various government-facilitated programs that may be available depending on your age, disability, alien status and disease. Our lawyers will discuss the various programs available in your state.
Protect Your Assets Now & Save You Money in the Long Run
Those wanting to keep as much of their money and assets in the family as possible often consider financial vehicles such as gifting trusts, etc. to preserve assets and possibly qualify for Medicaid sooner. If you are considering these as options, please speak with a qualified lawyer who can make sure your documents are well-drafted and can stand up to scrutiny by Medicaid.
Medicaid has gotten wise to these spend-down techniques. If fact, during your application process, you should expect that Medicaid and nursing home administrators will review the last five years of your financial transactions. If it can be proven that you or your spouse did not receive fair market value for any transfers of assets, you may be penalized and prevented from applying for Medicaid for a specific time period.
Don’t Delay! Proper Planning Will Minimize What Medicaid Can Claim
In the best case scenario, it’s a good idea to have a skilled lawyer review your assets and put a plan in place that takes possible future needs into consideration. However, it’s never too late to have a lawyer from Bratton Scott review your assets, income, family situation and recent transfers to best determine which assets you can save and how to manage your income and expenses.
We invite you to contact us to find out how to apply for Medicaid and maximize your chances of eligibility. Call us for a consultation at 856-857-6007 or fill out our convenient online form. Here to help clients in areas such as Cherry Hill, Princeton, Mount Laurel, Medford, Voorhees, and Moorestown.