What is Medicaid Asset Protection?
The Medicaid qualifying process is daunting to many people. In most cases, a family member has been hospitalized or treated for a health-related issue under Medicare. But Medicare coverage is limited, and it comes with a deadline. With the looming possibility that nursing home or assisted living care is needed, and facing that substantial cost, many families look to the government’s Medicaid program for financial assistance.
To qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must fall below certain income and asset benchmarks. In Florida, for example, you must have less than $2,313.00 a month in income, and you must have less than $2,000 in countable assets.
Many people believe they need to “spend down” their assets until they reach these marks. But then the money or assets earned through a lifetime are decimated, and there’s nothing to leave as inheritance to children or loved ones.
This is where asset protection comes into play.
The Medicaid qualifying process includes a “look-back” period of five years, meaning your financial maneuvers of the past 60 months may be scrutinized during the eligibility process. So, any large gifts of money to family members may be questioned. Having to plan so far in advance or learning how to make the proper maneuvers now are the main reasons why it makes sense to seek out an attorney who works consistently in this area of law.
Using a Trust
For qualifying purposes, assets can be placed in certain types of trusts, thus eliminating them counting against you for Medicaid purposes. It’s important to understand that not all trusts work for this purpose, however, so careful planning needs to be done in advance before getting started. An attorney who works regularly in asset protection can explain Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, how to use them effectively, and how to maintain eligibility for the annual recertification.
For more information about Medicaid asset protection and what working with an attorney can provide you, contact Mortellaro Law.