Medicaid Planning & Elder Law

Long-term nursing is a valuable medical resource for patients in need. However, if a patient does not have a “long-term care” insurance policy to cover the expenses for such care it can be a financial strain on the patient and the patient’s family. Nursing home care (e.g., care while in a nursing home facility) in New York often costs well over $150,000 annually, and “in-home care” often costs about $75,000-$85,000 annually. Without a plan in place, these medical costs can devour a family’s life savings at rapid speed.

There is a program known as “Medicaid,” which is a joint state and federally funded program, that can cover many of these medical expenses. Medicaid is a need-based program¬†with strict eligibility requirements. When making an application for Medicaid benefits through your local County Department of Social Services, the government will review your application by conducting a review of your assets and income. Eligibility for Medicaid benefits is the first part of the consideration; the second part of the consideration is whether or not an applicant’s assets will become available for Medicaid to recover a financial reimbursement for the Medicaid services rendered upon a person’s decease.

When talking about Medicaid, you will often hear many myths and half-truths about the transfer of assets, various “look back” periods whether the government will review assets transferred out of an applicant’s name for a certain period of time leading up to the application. On this point, many people have heard of the infamous “five-year look back” period. Unfortunately, a lack of planning in advance of a health crisis often results in patients being unable to wait until the “lookback period” has passed and without the resources to pay for such care out of personal assets. Good planning can assist clients with these concerns.

Attorneys who practice in the area of “elder law” are attorneys who help clients prepare and plan for unique age-related issues faced by senior citizens through a variety of planning tools and guidance. Medicaid planning and eligibility is often a core part of this planning. Our team will look carefully at your income, assets and finances and assist you with a strategy for your needs. Among the tools available, trusts, wills, promissory notes, annuities, caregiving arrangements, and life estates will be considered.