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Is it time to start preparing for Medicaid qualifications?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Preparation can go a long way in helping Ohio residents avoid difficult scenarios. For example, you may be closing in on retirement age, and while you look forward to no longer working, you know that numerous people over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care in their remaining years. Though you undoubtedly hope that you will maintain your health for years to come, you understand that preparing for the possibility of needing care is wise.

Though exploring nursing home facilities and determining whether you would rather go to such a facility or receive at-home care are important steps, the financial implications of needing long-term care are likely also on your mind. Unfortunately, this type of care can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the arrangements and length of care.

How can you prepare?

On the bright side, you can take steps to prepare for the financial effects of long-term care by reviewing your estate planning options and by considering your Medicaid qualifications. Medicaid can help handle at least a portion of the costs associated with your care, but you will need to meet certain financial requirements in order to qualify. Limited assets and low income are two of those requirements.

As your financial situation stands, you may not qualify for Medicaid. However, you could arrange your assets to better meet those qualifications later. Some options to consider include:

  • Transferring assets to a spouse
  • Utilizing trusts to remove income and assets from your ownership
  • Spending down assets to meet the Medicaid limit
  • Gifting assets to other loved ones
  • Creating a caregiver agreement

It is important to remember, however, that Medicaid does a five-year lookback to assess financial moves you have made during that time. As a result, it is wise to start planning at least five years before you will need long-term care and Medicaid assistance. Of course, it can be difficult to know when a serious medical issue will arise, so determining the best time to start planning can be a challenge.

Have the right help

Luckily, you do not have to do all of this planning yourself. You could enlist the help of an experienced elder law attorney who can help you better understand your options for qualifying for financial assistance and planning ahead for Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid requirements can change at any time, but having the right help now could make all the difference in your case later.

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