Medicaid Facts & Myths
- Proper Medicaid planning allows your loved one to qualify for Medicaid and preserve their life savings.
- Through proper planning, money can be set aside to be used by the nursing home resident to purchase items not covered by Medicaid, such as clothing, barber or beauty salon services, perhaps a big screen television.
- Proper planning allows you to use assets to protect a disabled or special needs child’s future, while still qualifying you for Medicaid.
- Proper planning may allow you to qualify for Medicaid while still leaving an inheritance for your children and grandchildren.
- A Medicaid patient receives the same level of care as a private pay patient in any nursing home that accepts Medicaid.
- It is almost never too late to do effective Medicaid planning, but the earlier it is done the more options are available.
- While Medicaid is a “spend down” program, with proper planning using various strategies and techniques, it is possible to keep certain assets and transfer or gift other assets without disqualification for Medicaid.
- Medicaid limits the transferring of assets for less than fair market value, so don’t transfer or gift your property without proper legal advice to avoid Medicaid disqualification.
- Medicaid rules are constantly changing, and the rules that applied to your family members or friends in the past may not apply to you now or in the future.
- I have to spend all my money before I will qualify for Medicaid. False.While Medicaid is a “spend down” program, you don’t have to be destitute, or leave your spouse destitute, to qualify for Medicaid.
- You need to plan years in advance to do effective Medicaid Planning. False. It is almost never too late to do effective Medicaid planning.
- You can gift up to $13,000.00 a year without affecting your Medicaid. False. The $13,000.00 is the amount you can gift without taxes under Tax code, it is NOT an allowable transfer under Medicaid.
- I put my child on my bank accounts as a joint tenant years ago so at least half is protected from Medicaid. False. Generally, non-real property assets such as bank accounts and brokerage accounts held in joint tenancy with a child are considered 100% assets of the Medicaid applicant, unless you can show that the child provided deposits of the child’s funds into the account.
- My assets are in my living trust and therefore are not considered for Medicaid. False. Assets held in your revocable trust are considered your assets for purposes of Medicaid eligibility.
- I can only spend down my assets on medical and nursing home bills. False. While some nursing homes would have you believe this, with the assistance of an Elder Law Attorney the money can be spent down in ways of greater benefit to the applicant, applicant’s spouse or family.
- I can hide my assets and qualify for Medicaid. False. Intentional misrepresentation on a Medicaid Application is a crime and can result in criminal liability for both you and the person to whom the asset is transferred. Proper Medicaid planning uses the provisions of the law itself to achieve the applicant’s goals and everything is fully disclosed as part of the application.
Attorney James C. Siebert
The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates
Arlington Heights, Illinois
An ElderCare Matters Partner
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