As you and most other Georgia residents know, medical care is expensive. A single trip to the emergency room can set someone back thousands of dollars, even if the patient has insurance. When it comes to paying for long-term care, which is often necessary for elderly individuals or those who have an incapacitating condition, you or your loved ones could expect to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for care.
Because no one wants to put this type of financial burden on their loved ones, many people look into benefits programs like Medicaid. While Medicaid could help offset some of the expenses associated with long-term care, it is important to keep in mind that only qualifying individuals can obtain these benefits. Fortunately, if you hope to receive this financial assistance in the future, you could plan ahead in efforts to qualify when or if the time comes.
Does planning work?
Planning to qualify for Medicaid does work for many people, but it is important to note that, when reviewing applications, Medicaid agents look into the financial moves applicants have made for at least the last five years. If an agent believes that you put funds into a trust, gifted assets or took similar steps within the last five years in effort to qualify for Medicaid, you could face penalties, like a delay in benefits.
What issues could arise when trying to plan?
In addition to keeping the five-year lookback in mind, you may want to keep the following common mistakes in mind that numerous people fall victim to when trying to plan for Medicaid qualification:
- Selling a home: Medicaid agents do not consider a person’s home when determining financial eligibility, and if it sold, it turns into funds that the agency will consider.
- Co-signing a loan: If you co-sign a loan for another person, like a child who is purchasing a home, it could disqualify you for Medicaid because additional properties, like a second home or a significant loan, would go under consideration for financial eligibility.
- Not using a QIT: A qualified income trust could help you qualify for Medicaid if your income exceeds the eligibility amount, but it is also important that you use the QIT correctly.
- Putting assets through probate: If you do not take measures to avoid probate, Medicaid could make a claim against your assets after your passing in an attempt to cover the benefits you received.
These examples are only a few of the many issues that could arise when trying to qualify for benefits. If you want to avoid these and other common mistakes, you may want to obtain reliable information on your planning options.