Everyone will eventually need some kind of care as they get older, but not everyone can afford to pay for a nursing home. Medicaid is a viable option for alleviating the financial strain, but getting the coverage you need without losing everything you’ve saved up is often tricky.
Why Medicaid Is Important for New York Nursing Home Coverage
Unfortunately, you can’t rely on Medicare in this situation, as it only covers around-the-clock care at a facility for a limited amount of time and under extremely specific circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about Medicare nursing home coverage:
- Applies only if you were in the hospital for 3+ days first
- Covers a maximum of 100 days
- Kicks in when you require skilled care, which means a professional has to administer an in-depth level of care every day to prevent your condition from worsening
While Medicaid has similar skilled care requirements, the program can take care of the costs of long-term care indefinitely. For many aging New York residents, Medicaid is likely to become a necessity for covering the extremely high costs of a nursing home’s services—especially if the stay goes beyond 100 days and becomes permanent.
While Medicaid will pay for your bed and care, there are some major pitfalls you need to avoid. The exact time when you apply for coverage for instance is critical to dealing with Medicaid’s five-year lookback period. Qualifying for the program requires going through a means test that looks at your current assets as well as any financial moves made over the last five years. Unfortunately, that forces many applicants to rid themselves of assets to qualify. To prevent issues with coverage, you should:
- Avoid gifting assets, as these will count against you due to the five-year lookback rule
- Convert countable assets into non-countable assets
- Spend down countable assets in specific ways to lower your financial threshold
Talk over the available options with an experienced Medicaid attorney to find solutions that will work for your specific situation. You may need to create an irrevocable trust to fund funeral expenses ahead of time, use an exempt annuity to create an income stream for your spouse during a nursing home stay, or utilize other strategies your attorney can suggest.
Plan for Your Nursing Home Stay Ahead of Time With a Medicaid Lawyer
The best time to prepare for Medicaid coverage is in advance, but Alatsas Law Firm can still help even if you are in a crisis and need coverage right now for an unexpected disability. Set up an appointment today so we can learn about your situation and find a way to help you qualify for coverage.