Even though a vote over the Senate's bill to repeal Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) has been delayed, it is important to know whether or not it affects elders who rely on Medicaid for nursing home care.
At least for the moment, the legislation to cap Medicaid will not proceed. Nor will the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. There were several proposals that could have had an impact.
In March, the House legislation included limits to home equity as a countable resource and repeal of three-month retroactive coverage. By lowering the limits on home equity, recipients could have been forced to chose between home ownership and Medicaid assistance. Ultimately, the first was removed from the Senate bill and the second was modified to not apply to persons with disabilities and those over 65.
NAELA is also concerned about the misuse of 1115 waivers to limit Medicaid eligibility. Maine has already proposed an 1115 waiver to put limits on annuities and end retroactive coverage. An elder law attorney can help you learn if you or a loved one qualifies for Medicaid and how to do Medicaid planning.
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been one the biggest news items in recent weeks. Changes to Medicaid in Republican proposals have received a lot of attention, but many people do not know exactly what Medicaid does.
You probably know that Medicaid is the federal government program that provides health care coverage to poor Americans. However, in the debate about the repeal of Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and possible reductions to Medicaid in various appeal proposals, what often gets lost is exactly what that federal government program for the poor does.
Facts about the program get lost in the media noise.
It is important to know the facts, because only then can you really decide if you are for or against any changes.
The mistake is a simple one to explain, but it is important to make sure you understand it so you will not make it. You cannot give your assets to your children, just before you go into a nursing home, at Medicaid's expense.
Unfortunately, that is just what many people are planning to do and it will not work.
What is the problem?
Medicaid has a five-year lookback window, which means that the program will look at any asset transfers the applicant (or anyone on his or her behalf) made within five years of needing long-term care.
If those transfers were not made at market value, then Medicaid will not pay for care until the expenses start to exceed the value of the transferred assets. There is a formula to calculate the “penalty period” that will be applied.
This simple mistake is a big source of problems for the elderly. Make sure that you understand it and ask an elder law attorney, if you have any questions about it.
All too often when one spouse in a marriage needs nursing home care, the couple assumes that the only way they can pay for that care is to sell their home. That might not be the case.
Overall, Americans do a poor job of planning for their estates and making plans should they need long-term care in a nursing home. This is because so many Americans do not ever make any plans at all.
Of those that do, many choose to make their own plans and that is a mistake. Those who seek out professional planners normally have good plans.
For the many who have no plans or who have bad plans, they often receive a rude awakening when their spouse needs care in a nursing home. Many of these Americans do not think they have any other option but to sell the family home so the government will pay for the care under Medicaid.
Before selling their homes to pay for nursing home care, seniors are advised to seek out the services of an elder law attorney. The attorney can assess the situation to determine what other options, if any, are available. At Profit Law firm, during crisis planning, we will review the options to see if a trust, deed transfer or another option works.
The even better option is to plan ahead.
Get a professionally crafted estate plan that includes the possibility of long-term care in a nursing home. Doing so will make it far less likely that having a spouse go into a nursing home will necessitate selling the family home. Call us for a consultation today.