You may be wondering, “What are the chances I will ever need Medicaid.” Well, about 72 million people received Medicaid benefits in 2017, including younger disabled people, pregnant women, children, and older adults. About 52 percent of people currently age 65 will need long-term care in the future. Many of these people will need help paying for that care. Even people who are currently in good health should start thinking about their five year plan for Medicaid eligibility.
Who is eligible for Medicaid benefits?
Caseworkers review several factors to determine an individual’s eligibility for Medicaid. Each Medicaid program has different requirements. We’ll just be considering two programs: Medicaid for Elderly & Disabled and Medicaid in the Nursing Home.
To receive Alabama Medicaid benefits, applicants have to meet medical, income, and citizenship requirements. An individual might meet those requirements if they:
- Are medically proven to need nursing home care;
- Have lived in the facility for more than 30 continuous days;
- Have a monthly income less than the limit, which is currently $2,205;
- Own resources valued below the current limit; and
- Are citizens of the U.S. and Alabama.
What might block Medicaid eligibility?
Sometimes eligibility is denied for preventable reasons.
For example, Medicaid reviews income and expenses for the 60 months prior to the application date. Large transfers of property or income during that 5-year time frame – the “look back” period – could make the applicant ineligible for months or years – the penalty period. The length of the penalty period varies depending on the amount of money given away.
Proper estate planning before the Medicaid benefits are needed could transfer an individual’s assets in a way that is acceptable to Medicaid. Creating and funding an irrevocable trust may protect the assets for your heirs without affecting your Medicaid eligibility.
It’s great to start Medicaid planning five years out … but we have no way of knowing when or even if we will be incapacitated.
Start your Medicaid planning today.
Even if you haven’t started planning five years in advance, you can still benefit from the advice you’ll receive from the attorneys at Adams Miller.
Don’t let Medicaid eligibility issues give you an unpleasant surprise. Know where you stand now, and how to plan for the future. Talk to an Alabama attorney with experience and training to handle your concerns. Contact Adams Miller, LLP at 256-251-2137 to schedule an appointment. We help clients in Anniston, Talladega, Birmingham, Gadsden and surrounding communities.