Medicaid is a vast and complicated program that is of interest to different people for different reasons. It has actually become more difficult to understand since the health care laws have been changed.
In this post we will look at Medicaid in Kew Gardens NY only as it applies to long-term care for senior citizens.
What About Medicare?
When you are planning ahead with your senior years in mind you may not consider the relevance of Medicaid. If you have paid into the program sufficiently throughout your working years while you are paying taxes, you will qualify for Medicare.
Medicare is a health insurance program for senior citizens. Your eligibility kicks in when you reach the age of 65 if you have accumulated at least 40 retirement credits by working throughout your life. You can accumulate as many as four of these credits each year. As a result, the requirement is not that stringent. The vast majority of senior citizens will qualify for Medicare.
Most senior citizens will also need long-term care. The problem is, Medicare does not pay for living assistance. It will pay for up to 100 days of convalescent care only. If you need help with your activities of daily living that are not considered to be medical in nature, you have to look elsewhere for financial assistance.
Medicaid is actually used by most senior citizens who are in nursing homes. This is true even though the majority of people who are using Medicaid to pay for long-term care once qualified for Medicare.
Long-term care costs are extremely high. What do you do if you have spent everything you have on your long-term care but you need more? The answer is that you would qualify for Medicaid.
This is not a very appealing end-of-life scenario, but it is something that many senior citizens are facing today. Many seniors will face it in the future as well.
It is possible to be proactive about the situation by implementing Medicaid planning strategies. Working within the program rules, it may be possible to divest yourself of assets in certain ways well in advance of applying for Medicaid to assist with your long-term care costs.
You do have to look ahead well into the future, because you can be penalized and your eligibility will be delayed if you give away assets within five years of applying for Medicaid.
There are also complicated rules regarding what your spouse may be able to keep if you need Medicaid to help pay for long-term care expenses. Protecting your home from future Medicaid recovery efforts would be another issue that would be addressed within a Medicaid plan.
If you are interested in discussing Medicaid with a licensed Kew Gardens NY elder law attorney, don’t hesitate to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.