Thursday, August 20, 2020

Medicaid Planning: 3 Things You Should Do Right Now

The costs of nursing home and long-term care can be staggering, leaving many Texans to wonder if they have enough resources to see them through their final years? Rest assured, there are ways to receive government assistance without draining your life savings.

With a little planning and the expertise of a Texas Medicaid planning attorney, you can qualify for the help you need from Medicaid.

3 Things You Should Do Right Now to Qualify for Texas Medicaid

1. Understand Medicaid

Funded by both state and federal money, Medicaid provides health insurance to roughly 17% of Texans. Medicaid offers recipients quality, comprehensive routine care within their communities and affords them long-term care when necessary.

To qualify for Texas Medicaid, you must be:

  • a Texas State resident
  • a U.S. national, citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • in need of health care insurance
  • low income or very low income
  • either pregnant, blind, disabled, 65 years of age or older or have a disabled family member in your household

2. Re-structure Your Financial Resources

Texas has strict income, asset, and home equity limits restricting Medicaid eligibility. If you or you and your spouse jointly exceed the asset limits, you might be able to restructure your finances to meet Medicaid eligibility requirements. Two options available for restructuring assets include the Qualified Income Trust and the Irrevocable Funeral Trust.

  • The Qualified Income Trust, or Miller Trust, accepts excess income into the trust and allows for a small allowance distribution to the Medicaid recipient and spouse. If any funds remain in the trust after the recipient's death, they are subject to recovery by Medicaid.
  • The Irrevocable Funeral Trust allows a family to pre-pay funeral expenses into the trust, converting money that would otherwise be a countable asset into an exempt asset.

It is important to note that there is a law to prevent intentional income and asset reduction through early gifting.

Known as the 5-year look-back, this law allows the government to trace your finances for the five years prior to your Texas Medicaid application. Intentional gifting to reduce your income and asset values may result in denial of your Medicaid application. Similarly, if you have already received Medicaid payments and intentional gifting is uncovered, you may be required to repay any monies received.

3. Hire A Texas Medicaid Planning Attorney

The restrictions governing Texas Medicaid are complex and ever-changing. Knowing whether you qualify for Medicaid or need to make adjustments to qualify in the future can be a challenge. Sometimes it's best to seek the advice of a skilled and seasoned Texas Medicaid Planning Attorney.

A Medicaid planning lawyer will advise you regarding the eligibility requirements and application process, and they can help ensure eligibility through advance asset management:

  • Manage asset transfers
  • Convert assets from countable to exempt status
  • Time asset transfers appropriately
  • Establish protective trusts
  • Protect assets from Medicaid recovery

Plan Ahead and Plan Well: Contact a Texas Medicaid Attorney Today

Balancing your assets and income against Texas Medicaid eligibility requirements can be tricky. There are only a few allowable spend-down strategies, and the consequences for being denied Medicaid because of a legal misstep can be severe. Don’t risk losing your much needed Medicaid benefits or your lifetime assets. Contact the Law Office of Carey Thompson and schedule a consultation to learn more.

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