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What is Medicaid planning?

The concept of Medicaid planning has grown in popularity over the last decade or so. Many New Jersey residents may have heard about Medicaid planning but may not be fully aware of what it entails.

Basically, Medicaid planning is meant to get around some of the problems with Medicare. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for those of retirement age, does not pay for every service someone of that age may need. For example, Medicare will not cover the bulk of a person's stay in an assisted care facility and, for that matter, may also not provide for in-home care.

All the same, relatively few people have the resources to fund the thousands of dollars a month it costs to stay in a nursing home. At best, a New Jersey resident may have to face the prospect of choosing between getting the care he needs and leaving a legacy for his loved ones.

The idea behind Medicaid planning is to leave a person in a position to avail herself of Medicaid, a federally funded health care program for those of limited means and income, by the time she needs nursing home care or similar services. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid will cover the cost of staying in a home. However, only those who are without adequate resources or income can qualify.

It simply will not be effective for a person to dump his assets at the last minute in order to qualify for Medicaid, as the program has rules to prevent such behavior. However, in the long term, people can use various estate planning techniques to pass along assets to their loved ones, provide for their other needs and still legally qualify for the Medicaid program. A skilled estate planning attorney can assist with this process.

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