Medicaid is a state-run, federally-funded program that helps pay for medical care for those who cannot afford it on their own. Medicaid often enters the lives of senior citizens for nursing home expenses, but there are several little known facts regarding this program.
1. Gifting Restrictions
In order to qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must meet eligibility requirements for both income and assets. In order to meet the asset limit, you are not permitted to simply gift property or money to family or friends, as Medicaid may go back and review gifts and transfers as far back as 60 months. This is known as a look-back period, and it’s an important aspect of Medicaid planning.
2. Dual Eligibility
You may be eligible and enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid at the same time. This is known as dual eligibility and it allows Medicaid to assist in paying Medicare premiums and other medical costs, such as copayments, for those who qualify.
3. Spending Down Assets
Many believe that in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, all of their money and assets must be ‘spent down.’ While it may be necessary to spend down some assets to meet eligibility limits, there are several exemptions to the spending down process, including provisions for spouses and residences.
4. Estate Recovery
If a patient receives medical services paid for by Medicaid after their 55th birthday or when permanently residing in a nursing home, Medicaid may recover the amount of the cost of these services from the assets in their estate upon their death.
A Medicaid Attorney can help you with the many aspects of this program, from Medicaid planning to using Medicaid for nursing home expenses, as well as estate planning to handle many of the situations that may come up later in life.