Why Many Seniors Need (But Don’t Obtain) Medicaid Planning

Why Many Seniors Need (But Don’t Obtain) Medicaid Planning

Provided By: Alan G. Orlowsky

It is a fact that as we age there is a chance that we might find ourselves placed in a retirement home or nursing home facility. Sometimes one or both spouses might decide to enter a home or facility together, whereas other times they may be both placed in a home or facility because of an urgent need. One thing is universally true, however: these homes and facilities are not cheap. In fact, it can cost thousands of dollars each month for a resident to remain in one of these homes or facilities, even if he or she does not need intensive medical care or treatment.

Where the individual is single and does not have many assets in his or her possession, the cost of these homes and facilities is generally not an issue because Medicaid pays these expenses for the person. However, if a person does have significant assets, or if he or she is married and the spouse intends to remain at home as opposed to accompanying the person into a home or facility, the finances of the person and his or her family may be placed in jeopardy.

Why You Need to “Plan” for Medicaid 

If you intend to rely on Medicaid to pay for your nursing home or retirement home expenses, you must be aware that Medicaid will only start paying for your nursing home or retirement home expenses once your income and assets fall below certain levels. This means that, before you begin to enjoy Medicaid benefits, you will either:

  • Need to spend your own resources and assets on your care until you dropped below the relevant Medicaid income threshold; or
  • Divest yourself of income and resources in order to lower your income enough to qualify for Medicaid.

Either option can be financially ruinous for any spouse or children of the individual. What is more, simply giving away property and assets to family members and relatives will not qualify you for Medicaid. There are certain limitations concerning how much income and assets you can gift to another person (and the relationship this other person can have with you) in order to qualify.

For these reasons, qualifying for Medicaid takes a considerable amount of planning if you wish to preserve the value of your assets.

Do I Need an Attorney to Plan for Medicaid? 

An elder law attorney assisting clients in qualifying for Medicaid will first begin by reviewing the assets and income of the client and explaining how a person qualifies for Medicaid. The attorney will then discuss various methods available to preserve those assets and income while still lowering the person’s income and assets sufficiently so that the client can qualify for Medicaid.

At Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd., our Chicago-area elder law attorneys have assisted numerous elderly clients with qualifying for Medicaid while preserving their assets and income as much as possible. We can assist clients in Chicago, Skokie, Glenview, Glencoe, Highland Park, Evanston, and Northbrook. Call our firm today at (847) 325-5559 to discuss your Medicaid needs, or you can contact our firm online.



Updated as of July 2019
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