Individuals over the age of 65 and those with special needs require expensive and long-term care but may not have the financial resources for it. Medicaid is a government-sponsored health insurance program that the state and federal governments designed to provide medical assistance to people who meet certain financial criteria. Georgia has one of the strictest eligibility requirements among all the states.
Medicaid planning is the process of increasing an individual’s chances of meeting the eligibility requirements. You can do this by reorganizing and structuring your assets using different estate planning tools.
Who can benefit from Medicaid planning?
People eligible for Medicaid benefits typically have low income and special needs, but Medicaid is fundamentally the only insurance covering long-term nursing home care. You need to take a proactive approach to Medicaid planning because it can cost thousands of dollars a month to stay in a nursing home. The costs can rapidly consume your finances regardless of the size of your current estate. Fortunately, everyone can benefit from Medicaid planning, including:
- Elderly individuals, regardless of their financial circumstance
- Individuals who want to protect their assets from long-term care costs
- Individuals with children or grandchildren who have special needs
Virtually anyone who wants to receive Medicaid benefits can do so through advanced Medicaid planning. If you have substantial assets, you can transfer these into a trust. Still, you must be aware of the five-year lookback period that can temporarily disqualify you from becoming eligible.
When should you begin Medicaid planning?
Medicaid planning should start immediately. It can involve selling or transferring assets or giving them away to loved ones, which can pose a problem if you do so within the lookback period. You should begin Medicaid planning at least five years before you will need the benefits.