Medicaid Crisis Planning
If you or a loved one are hurt in an accident or experience a sudden illness, you may unexpectedly find yourself looking at options for long-term care or assisted living. The expense can be astronomical. While Medicaid funds may be available in North Carolina to help cover your costs, you must structure your affairs properly to meet the legal requirements. This is where Medicaid crisis planning becomes essential.
What is Medicaid Crisis Planning?
Medicaid crisis planning is the process of establishing an individual’s eventual eligibility for Medicaid funding while protecting their assets as much as possible. Although Medicaid is a federal program, it is administered differently by each state. North Carolina laws set maximum income and asset limits for individuals to qualify for Medicaid funds. Part of the Medicaid crisis planning process involves transferring assets so they are not counted toward the eligibility thresholds. For instance, ownership of the family home might be transferred to a spouse or other dependent relative.
The rules regarding the timing of transfers and other property requirements are complex, and penalties apply if steps are not taken correctly. Many people find it advantageous to work with an experienced Medicaid attorney to develop a crisis plan to cover future needs with a minimal waste of funds.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for Medicaid?
It’s possible for anyone to apply for Medicaid on their own. However, many factors can make it difficult to establish eligibility. Working with a knowledgeable legal adviser can help ensure an application is properly submitted and supported with appropriate documentation.
Why is Medicaid Crisis Planning Important?
Both federal and North Carolina Medicaid rules are complicated and subject to change at any time. It is a good idea to plan ahead with a professional who understands current requirements and can help make adjustments in the future if your circumstances or the regulatory requirements should change.
Medicaid crisis planning is critical for many reasons such as:
- Expense. The annual cost of care is expected to double in the next 20 years, increasing from $73,000 to $131,800. Currently, average assisted living costs in the Wilmington, NC area are among the highest in the state and well above the national average. The costs associated with long-term care facilities without Medicaid are already very difficult to afford and could become nearly impossible.
- Requirements. Applicants must take care with both assets and income in order to meet the stringent eligibility requirements. Rules regarding which property and sources do and do not count are complex and vary according to circumstances. Working with an adviser who understands the rules is the easiest way to ensure compliance.
- The Medicaid Maze. The actual process of applying for Medicaid and preparing supporting documentation can be a lengthy, harrowing, and frustrating experience, particularly in a time of crisis. With complex calculations and nuances that affect applicants differently, it’s difficult to navigate this maze alone.
Does Medicaid Take All Your Money?
With proper planning, a Medicaid applicant will not need to spend everything they own in order to qualify for benefits. When executing a Medicaid crisis plan, the goal is to retain assets for the future use of the applicant or family members. Medicaid crisis planning could help keep the applicant’s assets in safe hands and provide coverage for medical needs.
Do I Need to Plan for Medicaid Now?
No one wants to think about a situation where they need long-term care. However, Medicaid crisis planning is all about being ready for an emergency that could strike at any time, as well as the eventual needs that come with the aging process. To be fully protected, it is best to start the planning process as soon as possible. In many situations, a waiting period applies before Medicaid applicants can take full advantage of an asset transfer, so delays can be quite costly.
Creating a Medicaid crisis plan sooner can help prevent paying out-of-pocket for medical services during the period of ineligibility. Medicaid helps provide many different medical benefits, and there is no need to wait until there is an emergency to investigate available benefits.
Take the Complication Out of Medicaid Crisis Planning
You don’t have to take on Medicaid crisis planning by yourself. The attorneys at Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC can help guide you through this process and provide an extensive network of professionals who could assist you in developing a plan to meet financial qualifications with the greatest conservation of assets.
We have succeeded in a number of Medicaid crisis cases and use every tool at our disposal to ensure you and your family are protected when tragedy hits. To begin working with an experienced Medicaid crisis planning attorney in North Carolina today, simply give our office a call at (910) 777-5734 and schedule a fully confidential consultation.