In my practice I encounter many people who believe they know Florida Medicaid requirements make costly Medicaid mistakes because they mistakenly believe some common misconceptions about Medicaid eligibility.
One of these common mistakes is that you have to “Spend Down” all of your assets until you meet the Florida Medicaid Requirements.
In truth, some assets do not count toward the Florida Medicaid requirements. Furthermore, even if the assets do “count,” they can often be restructured to convert “countable assets” to those which do not count. Part of this common misconception is that if you have not done planning 5 years prior to a need for eligibility that it is too late. While there is a five year look-back period, it only applies to transfers without consideration. Crisis planning tools exists even if pre-planning has not been done. However, if the Medicaid applicant is incompetent, another individual will need legal authority (presumably with a power of attorney) to make appropriate legal changes to the structure of the assets.
Another common Medicaid mistake is that you can give away $15,000 per beneficiary per year without it effecting Florida Medicaid requirements.
Gifting of any kind causes ineligibility periods when applying for Medicaid. Annual exclusion gifting is a tax concept and has no place in Medicaid planning. If you give annual exclusion gifts and need Medicaid during the look-back period, you will be ineligible for a period of time. This problem can be resolved if the gift recipients are able to give the funds back. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.
Another common mistake that we see is families who immediately bring a frail and needy elderly person home from a rehabilitation facility without the ability to care for him at home because they have been told that Medicare will no longer pay for care.
If as person is in a nursing home for 60 days and has a Medicaid application approved, that person can receive assistance from the Home and Community Based Services Medicaid program to provide care in the home or in an assisted living facility that takes Medicaid. The waiting list to obtain these services is very long in the ordinary case, but if you apply and get your application approved when in a nursing home, you jump over the waiting list.