When New York seniors begin to think about long-term care, they may worry about how they can become eligible for Medicaid coverage. Long-term care can be extremely expensive and outside the reach of many families, so Medicaid support is particularly important in vulnerable times. Because Medicaid is designed to provide assistance to those who cannot pay for care, there are strict eligibility standards. However, in many cases, these standards may exclude many seniors who are unable to pay for long-term care in any significant way. This is where Medicaid planning becomes an important tool to help protect access to long-term care.
Medicaid planning should come in advance
Planning for Medicaid and asset protection should begin long in advance of the need to access long-term care, because actions that are taken too soon before applying for Medicaid may lead to transferred assets being counted as part of the applicant’s available funds. In general, single applicants for Medicaid must have $2,000 or less in countable assets. Some items, like a primary residence, are excluded from this calculation, but other assets, like bank accounts or other funds, are included.
Circumstances may complicate eligibility
Couples may face difficult questions when thinking about the future, even if both of them are currently healthy. They may wish to prepare for a time when one person needs nursing care, even if the other spouse remains relatively healthy but still unable to provide skilled assistance in the home. In other cases, seniors may consider how they want to provide for their loved ones with their limited resources.
Applying for Medicaid can be a necessary part of many people’s lives as they grow older and need professional care for daily life. Medicaid planning can be an important part of the estate planning process to help seniors live out their lives safely and with appropriate care.