“Can You Give Away Your Wealth to Get Medicaid?” by Attorney Laura Curry
Medicaid is the single largest source of health coverage in the United States and is administered by states, according to federal requirements. It provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.
Medicaid is a means-tested program, so you cannot qualify for coverage if you have too much wealth. A significant number of seniors end up needing Medicaid to pay nursing home care costs but they’ve spent their whole life working to build a nest egg and so they have too much money to get covered. This leaves these seniors in a position where they’d essentially need to impoverish themselves to come down below Medicaid’s asset limits so they could get care paid for. Many seniors obviously don’t want to spend their entire life savings on a few months of nursing home care, so seniors often look for ways around this by protecting their wealth.
If you plan to protect your assets, however, you’ll need to be careful about how you do it. For example, you cannot just give away your wealth to get Medicaid and if you try, you could end up causing yourself to become disqualified from Medicaid coverage entirely. Sinclair Prosser Gasior will help you to learn the rules for Medicaid eligibility and will assist you in using an appropriate Medicaid planning technique to keep as much of your wealth as possible safe when you expect to need Medicaid to pay for your nursing home care.
Giving away wealth can seem like a good solution if you want your assets to go to your loved ones so you can qualify for means-tested Medicaid without having to spend all your money and sell property. After all, if you must move into a nursing home, you likely want to give your assets to your children or other family members rather than just spending the money paying big nursing home bills.
If you try to transfer valuable assets by gift or sale to a close friend or family member for far less than market value, you will trigger a period of disqualification from Medicaid coverage. When you attempt to qualify for Medicaid, there is a five year look back rule in effect. Medicaid will look back at your transactions during the prior five years before the time when you need coverage. If there is any transfer of wealth during that time period for less than fair market value then you’ll be disqualified for a set number of months. There are also exemptions for certain type of assets that Medicaid won’t count against you when you’re applying and ways to spend down your money that won’t be penalized by Medicaid. It is critical that you consult with an experienced elder law attorney when you or a loved one may need to apply for Medicaid.
How can Medicaid Attorneys Help You?
The attorneys at Sinclair Prosser Gasior are here to help you with a Medicaid plan. We can help if you wish to make advanced plans to keep your wealth safe in case you require nursing home care or long-term care in the future. We can also provide assistance with crisis planning when the need for Medicaid coverage is imminent and you haven’t made advanced plans to protect assets.
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