For individuals who are of low income and assets, Medicaid can be an important tool that assists in paying for healthcare and long-term care expenses, such as nursing home or at-home care. However, program rules and eligibility regarding Medicaid, as well as what Medicaid will and will not pay for, can be confusing. Here are four common myths regarding Medicaid long-term care coverage – if you have more questions, reach out to experienced elder planning lawyer Patricia Bloom-McDonald, Attorney at Law.
Will Medicare Cover My Long-Term Care Needs
Many people mistakenly assume that Medicare will cover their long-term care needs and expenses, and therefore believe that they will not need Medicaid services. However, this is not the case; as explained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Administration on Aging, Medicare will not pay for some long-term care services, including custodial care in a nursing home. Only Medicaid offers this coverage type.
Medicaid and Long-Term Care Coverage is NOT Only for the Elderly
While it’s true that the majority of people who require long-term care coverage, including nursing home assistance, are elderly, Medicaid is not just for elderly persons, nor are the long-term coverage benefits offered by Medicaid. In Massachusetts, Medicaid coverage (also referred to as MassHealth coverage) is for those who are U.S. citizens, who are residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who are in need of healthcare coverage, and who are classified as low-income. Income limits for Medicaid coverage can be found online.
Can I Just Transfer My Assets in Order to Qualify for Medicaid
Medicaid and the long-term care coverage that it provides can be extremely valuable, but because Medicaid eligibility is limited to those who are low income, many people will not qualify at their current income and asset level. As such, some people might try to transfer assets to their children in order to meet the income/asset eligibility requirements. However, federal law prohibits doing this within five years of applying for Medicaid coverage. Which means that if you think that you’ll need coverage in the next four to five years or less, it’s too late to transfer your assets. This is one of the reasons that long-term care planning with a qualified lawyer is so important. (There are some exceptions to the five-year transfer rule – talk to a lawyer to learn more.)
With Medicaid, I Can Choose Any Nursing Home that I Want
Unfortunately, under Medicaid coverage, you may be limited in your choice of nursing home and other long-term care coverage services. Not all facilities accept Medicaid benefits, which means that you may be more limited in your options than you would be if you were to pay out-of-pocket. You may also be unable to secure a private room through Medicaid coverage.
Meet with a Long-Term Care Planning Lawyer Today
Thinking about the future and the need for long-term care can be uncomfortable; no one likes to think about their own disability or mortality. However, taking steps to plan for the future now can provide comfort and peace of mind. Patricia Bloom-McDonald, Attorney at Law, has more than 20 years worth of experience representing clients in their long-term care planning needs, and helping clients to navigate long-term care benefits. Please reach her today for a consultation by phone or online.