Tampa Medicaid Planning Attorney
The sudden need for long-term medical care earlier than expected in someone’s life can put a kink in their best laid plans for retirement and financially supporting themselves for the remainder of their life. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, designed to provide low-income children, elderly and disabled individuals with health insurance coverage. Everyone’s specific needs are unique, and as such, Medicaid planning for each person is specific to their needs and qualifications. Contact our Tampa medicaid planning attorney for more information.
Medicaid planning is a way in which people can plan for how they will pay for their long-term health care needs in the future and how they can protect their assets for their loved ones and family members. Since Medicaid is a government program for low-income individuals with medical care needs, Medicaid planning helps individuals qualify for Medicaid benefits by devising ways to protect assets and shelter income from being considered accessible for the purposes of Medicaid qualification. In essence, Medicaid planning is a legal way to eliminate assets and income so that the Medicaid applicant becomes eligible for Medicaid, but does not have to spend away, or lose the benefit of the assets and income that they have worked so hard during their lifetime to obtain.
A number of estate planning tools can be used in Medicaid planning. Some of the more common estate planning tools include, for example, establishing an irrevocable trust and placing assets intended for heirs into the trust or investing funds into an annuity for a spouse, minor child, or disabled child. However, these means of protecting assets and income must be established years in advance of applying for Medicaid benefits since certain lookback periods apply to when assets were transferred in order to qualify for Medicaid. If an asset transfer occurred too recently in the past and falls within the lookback period, the Medicaid applicant could be considered ineligible, or could be eligible but penalized. An experienced Medicaid planning lawyer can help determine exactly what look back periods apply to your specific situation.
Medicaid is different from Medicare in that Medicaid funds can be used for nursing home and long-term care. Medicaid can be used to pay for the care associated with all conditions or diseases, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. (Medicare does provide some short-term benefits for nursing home care in limited instances).
Nursing Home Planning
Nursing home care is one of the most expensive aspects of elderly care. This is because in addition to often being a long-term care service, this service often includes more than just medical care services. People in nursing home facilities often also need additional services provided to them, such as meal services, personal hygiene services, and other assisted living services.
There are several ways that individuals who need nursing home care can pay for the services that they need. They can either go with a private option, or a government payment option. In terms of private options, nursing home residents can either pay for their care out of pocket, from savings or other funds that they have available, or they can obtain long-term care insurance coverage. In terms of government payment options, nursing home residents can apply for Medicare or Medicaid, if they are eligible. Medicare is health insurance for people who are 65 years and older, disabled, or people with kidney failure. Medicare can be used to pay for skilled nursing services. Medicaid is available to be used to pay for all types of nursing home care in addition to custodial stays in nursing homes. Which payment option is best for any particular individual is specific to their particular financial situation, and a long-term care planning lawyer could assist with selecting a plan that works for you. Contact our Tampa nursing home planning attorneys today.
Long-Term Care Planning
Medicaid is not merely for the elderly; Medicaid is available to any low-income individual in need of health insurance. Many disabled individuals need long-term care and need Medicaid to pay for their care. In Florida, this Medicaid program is referred to as the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) Long-term Care (LTC) program. This program requires eligible Medicaid recipients to enroll in one of the state’s seven long-term care plans, each of which is managed by private companies, and most of which are health management organizations (HMOs). However, private payment options, such as long-term care insurance and paying out of pocket, are also a way to afford long-term care.
In terms of long-term care Medicaid planning, Florida requires that recipients have a low level of income and very few assets. A carefully crafted Medicaid planning determination done by an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer can shelter your assets and restructure your accessible income so that you can be eligible for the state’s Medicaid programs. Let our experienced Tampa Medicaid attorney help you.
Veterans’ Administration Planning
Disabled and elderly veterans are eligible for benefits to help with the cost of long-term care. For instance, the Pension with Aid and Attendance veteran benefit can be used to pay for nursing home care, at-home care and assisted living expenses for veterans and their widows/widowers. Veterans can take advantage of the veteran benefits that are available to them, in addition to other benefits, such as Florida Medicaid benefits for long-term care needs. Working with a Medicaid and long-term care planning lawyer can be beneficial in determining the best way to coordinate all of the benefits that you are eligible for.
The main difference between veterans benefits and Medicaid benefits for long-term care is that Medicaid looks back a certain amount of time for any asset transfers that may have occurred, and if these asset transfers were not done in a permissible way, the Medicaid recipient will be penalized. But when it comes to veterans benefits, the Veterans Administration does not review any asset transfers, i.e., there is no lookback period on asset transfers.
However, many veterans ultimately end up also applying for Medicaid benefits under the Florida Medicaid system, which does take into consideration any asset transfers that may have recently taken place. As such, it is important to work with a veterans’ administration planning lawyer to work out a strategy for getting the benefits you are eligible for in a way that will not hinder your ability to also seek Medicaid benefits later down the road. Don’t hesitate to contact skilled Tampa Medicaid planning attorney David Toback for assistance with any of your long-term care planning needs.