The new year is more than a time of partying, recovering from Christmas, and figuring out how to pay our credit card bills. For many of us, it’s a time of reflection. We can use the new year as motivation to review our lives and make some necessary changes. For many of us, Medicaid planning for the new year should be top priority.

Why is Medicaid planning necessary?

For one thing, long-term care is expensive. According to Genworth statistics, the 2018 costs for long-term care in Alabama are:
$3,241 per month for Home Health Care
$3,271 per month for an assisted living facility
$6,279 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home
$6,661 per month for a private room in a nursing home

You have three basic ways to pay for long-term care:

  • Self-pay,
  • Long-term care insurance, or
  • Medicaid and other government benefit programs.

Without proper planning or insurance, the nest egg you spent years building could evaporate quickly.

What does Medicaid planning involve?

When you engage in Medicaid planning, you are making it more likely that you will qualify for Medicaid. To qualify for Medicaid:

  • Your income must be below Medicaid’s income limit. In 2018, an applicant could make no more than $2,025 per month.
  • You must have resources worth less than $2,000 on the first day of the month. Not all of your property will be considered resources.
  • Medicaid or Medicaid must medically approve you.
  • Finally, you must be a United States citizen and live in Alabama.

Medicaid planning primarily concerns meeting the income and resource limits. To do so, you can reduce your countable assets. However, Medicaid does not just look at your current financial situation. They actually employ a “look back period” which means they look at your finances for the 60 months prior to your application date. Any gifts or transfers made during that 60-month period may delay or minimize your Medicaid benefits.

How should I start Medicaid planning?

Immediately, of course! It is the New Year after all. Seriously, though, it is impossible to know when might need Medicaid. If it happens less than 60 months from right now, your ability to qualify could be jeopardized.

The attorneys at Miller Estate and Elder Law have the experience and skill to get your Medicaid planning in shape for the new year. To make an appointment to learn more about Medicaid planning, give us a call at 256-472-1900. Miller Estate and Elder Law is now located at 818 Leighton Avenue in Anniston, but we serve clients in Leeds, Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.