A lot of people have questions about Medicaid in Florida, especially when it comes to using the program to pay for long term care costs. Who can use Medicaid? When? What are the requirements? How can someone with significant assets use Medicaid without having to first spend down those assets?
Today we are going to take a look at some commonly asked questions about Medicaid in Florida.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a health insurance and health care system designed to provide health care coverage to individuals or families with low-incomes. Medicaid is program run through each individual state with funding and requirements partially provided by the federal government.
One of the most important aspects of Medicaid is its payment of long term care costs. When someone needs ongoing care in a nursing home, elder care, or similar facility, those who qualify for Medicaid can use the program for the costs associated with the care. Long term care costs can easily exceed $65,000 or more per year, and people who do not qualify for Medicaid have to pay for that care out of their own pockets. Medicare doesn’t pay for long term care, and neither do most health insurance plans. While long term care insurance is possible, it is often costly.
What is a Medicaid Plan?
When people consider their future and accept that they may likely need at last some long term care, they naturally consider how they will pay for it. Will they be able to use Medicare? If Medicare is not a possibility, are there insurance options they can use? If no insurance options are available, how much will it cost to pay for private care?
The answer to these questions will often lead people to conclude that paying for long-term care on their own will significantly reduce their assets and leave little or nothing to leave as inheritances to their children or loved ones. But, there is a possibility that you might be able to use Medicaid to pay for your long-term health.
To qualify for Medicaid you have to be able to meet some fairly stringent asset and income requirements. While most people do not qualify for the program, there are steps you can take so that you might qualify in the future, and do so without having to spend all of your assets first.
What are excluded assets?
Part of the process of developing a Medicaid plan is to first identify any excluded assets. When you determine your Medicaid eligibility, you have to look at the qualification rules imposed under the program. Basically, you have to have no more than a specific amount of assets or income in order to qualify. If you exceed the maximum thresholds for either income or assets, you are ineligible.
But, not all assets you are get counted when determining whether you qualify. For example, you can exempt a certain amount of any life insurance policy you own, as well as a personal vehicle. You can also exempt your home if a spouse or dependent relative uses it as a domicile.
So, one of the first step in creating a Medicaid plan is using as many of the exemptions as possible so you can keep as many assets as possible. Of course, maximizing your exemptions usually isn’t enough to ensure you can qualify for Medicaid, but it is where most good Medicaid plans begin. Once you’ve gone past exemptions, you’ll next have to go to restructuring your assets. This is a complicated process, and one your attorney will explain to you in more detail.
What can I do?
While using Medicaid to pay for long term care is possible for some people, it is not available to most. For most people, paying for long term care on their own, either with private payments or through insurance, is the only real option they have. It’s only after those people have spent their non-exempt assets can them expect to be able to use Medicaid for long term care pay.
So, if you are concerned that you might need long term care, and want to explore ways to use Medicaid to do so, you need to talk to us as soon as possible. Medicaid is a program that has very rules, limits, and qualifications. Understanding what those legal requirements are is one thing, but crafting a Medicaid plan that allows you to use the program is entirely another. Whether you want more information, need long term care now, or are worried about it in the future, contact us at your earliest convenience so we can talk about your needs.