Medicaid Planning for Nursing Home Care

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a combined federal and state program that assists persons unable to pay for medical care. If an individual is eligible, Medicaid covers all necessary medical services, including long-term nursing care (for either skilled nursing care or custodial care).

Why is Medicaid planning so important?

The cost of nursing home care can wipe out savings. Medicaid regulations allow planning that often can protect significant amounts of assets, particularly when the spouse is still living. An elder law specialist has the knowledge of the Medicaid program's complex state and federal rules that are required for successful asset and income protection planning.

The cost of nursing home care, on average of $6,000.00 per month in Florida, can wipe out savings. Nearly three-quarters of nursing home residents in Florida need financial assistance from Medicaid to help pay for their care at some point in their lives. Medicaid regulations often permit families to protect significant amounts of assets, particularly when the spouse is still living. There are also important rules protecting family income for the well spouse. Unfortunately, most families do not take full advantage of those rules, with the result that spouses are often unnecessarily impoverished by nursing home expenses. An elder law attorney has the knowledge of the Medicaid program's complex state and federal rules that are required for successful asset and income protection planning.

What is a Qualified Income Trust?

Florida excludes individuals with income above $1,809.00 per month from Medicaid eligibility unless they have a “Qualified Income Trust,” also called a “Miller Trust,” in place and funded with the applicant’s monthly income. Attorney Conforti can prepare your Qualified Income Trust and guide you in its proper use.

Important Changes to Medicaid Law in Effect Since February 8, 2006

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 was enacted on February 8, 2006, radically changing the way gifts from individuals or their spouses affect the later eligibility of either spouse. Even if you thought you understood the rules, you could make serious mistakes affecting Medicaid eligibility for years to come unless you learn about the changes from a competent elder law attorney.

What is the differences between Medicare and Medicaid?

Most people are confused about the differences in coverage for nursing home expenses paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Though Medicare insurance may pay nursing home costs for a limited time, it does not provide protection for long term nursing care. Only Medicaid and long term care insurance provides coverage for extended stays in nursing homes.

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