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Misinformation about Medicaid

Misinformation about Medicaid and long term care planning techniques is very common.
  • The other day I spoke at one of our monthly workshops.  One attendee  told me that she was contemplating deeding her property to her children so that she could get Medicaid if she needed it.  She said that she knew about the look-back period but that she was not giving away money so it would not count.  She also told me that she knew the look-back period was two years.  She was also convinced that cutting out her husband in her will was wise so that her money can be protected.
  • Another attendee told me that her sister was in a nursing home on Medicaid.  She told me that if she established a special needs trust for her sister that the state would take all of the money in trust.  She said that she knew that because she had researched the topic online.
  • Another attendee told me that her mother had been in a nursing home and that they had to spend a quarter million on nursing home care in a “spend-down” until she had $2,000.  After that she was able to obtain Medicaid.
  • Another attendee told me that it was “legal” to make gifts of $14,000 per donee per year and by doing so, you can make yourself Medicaid eligible.
  • All of these statements are significantly wrong and each would lead to disastrous consequences.  Planning for long term care needs to take place with a knowledgeable elder law attorney.  And while planning for Medicaid eligibility is an important component of planning for long to care for the middle class, Medicaid cannot and should not be the only consideration in the plan.  Medicaid is only available when I person needs a significant amount of care.  So planning needs to take place for declining health that falls short of Medicaid eligibility.
  • Attorneys have historically done a good job of helping their clients plan for their assets at death.  Over the past twenty years, they have also added legal documents that allow for a fiduciary to control assets and health-care during periods of incapacity.  The next advances need to be in helping the client think through the new reality of living long with chronic conditions which may necessitate extensive care.  Family dynamics play a significant role in this planning process because sometimes family members have differing expectations about the role of family care-givers.  Some elders feel that they will be able to rely on their children to provide hands-on care when the children are unwilling or unable to play that role.  Other elders do not want to burden their children with this type of role, but the children are determined that they want to provide the care.  Older clients need to be aware of the availability and costs of varying types of care when thinking through the planning process.
  • Life Care Planning helps families sort through the planning process and dispels misinformation about Medicaid `that can lead to poor decisions and poor outcomes.  Please call us to set up a family consultation.

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