Medicaid is a government program with complicated and ever-changing rules, especially when it comes to paying for long-term care. Here are some things you might not know:
- Medicare won’t pay for most long-term care. Medicare pays for only a small portion of nursing home stays, or other long-term care. Unless you have long-term care insurance, or you’re prepared to pay for your care out-of-pocket, you’ll need to learn about Medicaid planning.
- Transferring your property into your spouse’s name won’t help you qualify for Medicaid. In determining your eligibility for Medicaid, both your assets and your spouse’s assets are considered. There are methods you can use to plan for Medicaid, but transferring your property into your spouse’s name is useless.
- Your Power of Attorney probably doesn’t provide for Medicaid planning. There are very specific provisions involving gifting that have to be included in a general power of attorney in order for your agent to have the authority to do Medicaid planning on your behalf. Unless your power of attorney was drafted specifically with Medicaid planning in mind, it will likely be useless for that purpose once you become incapacitated. This is just one reason for you to start planning ahead of time.
- You don’t have to give away all of your assets to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid has specific rules as to which assets you’re allowed to keep and still qualify for benefits. Plus, simply giving away assets can keep you from receiving benefits for a period of several years. Before you do anything to try to qualify for Medicaid, it’s important that you consult with a qualified Estate Planning attorney.