Medicaid is a joint federal-state healthcare program intended for individuals with low income and limited financial resources. The government healthcare program also provides vital long-term healthcare services to eligible seniors. Medicaid is a needs-based program, however, and certain financial conditions must be met to qualify. This makes it essential to consult with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney.
At Berkley Oliver PLLC, our elder law practice is dedicated to helping clients plan for the future and their likely long-term care needs. Nearly 70 percent of adults over 65 in the U.S. will need some type of long-term care services, which is alarming given that skilled nursing care facilities cost about $100,000 per year in Kentucky. When you meet with us, we will take the time to understand your circumstances and find ways to help you qualify for Medicaid.
Founding members Josh Berkley and Amy Oliver are well-versed in the eligibility requirements for Medicaid and are here to advise you about all your long-term care options. We understand your concerns about not being able to afford skilled nursing care and maintaining your independence and will address those concerns by providing you with compassionate representation and caring efficient service. Contact our office today to learn how we can help.
Why You Need a Shelby County Medicaid Planning Attorney
Many people assume they will not need Medicaid because they are covered by Medicare. Medicare only covers skilled medical services for a brief time, however, and does not cover the cost of a person’s long-term care in a nursing home. Generally, to qualify for regular Medicaid, you must meet certain requirements – residency, age and/or disability, income, and asset limitations.
Also, to qualify for institutional/nursing home Medicaid in Kentucky, strict income and asset limits differ for individuals, couples with only one spouse applying, and couples with both spouses applying. Countable assets include:
- Stocks, bonds, investments
- Savings, and checking accounts
- Pension funds
- Real estate in which one spouse does not reside
Certain assets that are considered exempt (non-countable), such as personal belongings, household furnishings, an automobile, irrevocable burial trusts, IRAs, and one’s primary home as long as the Medicaid applicant lives in or intends to return to the home (home equity interest must not be greater than $636,000 in 2022). Given these strict income and asset limits, it takes a knowledgeable Medicaid planning attorney to help protect your assets and obtain the medical care you may need.
Medicaid Waivers/Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
A person who only needs assistance with daily tasks (adult day-care) or medical services at home or in an assisted living facility can apply for a Medicaid waiver. This allows them to remain in the home or live in an assisted living facility and still receive Medicaid as long as they can show that in-home care or assisted living facility costs less than a full-time skilled nursing facility.
Medicaid Planning Options in Shelby County
Because of Medicaid’s strict eligibility requirements, many individuals fail to meet the income or asset requirements, but still can’t afford the cost of healthcare on their own. This is where the Medicaid planning attorneys at Berkley Oliver can help. We will assess your situation and develop a strategy to help you qualify for Medicaid should that become necessary. Some of your options include:
Medicaid Asset Protection Trust
A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) is a type of irrevocable trust into which assets, including a home, are transferred and are no longer considered owned by the Medicaid applicant. Although there is no limit on the value of assets than can be held by the trust, the assets must be transferred into the trust at least 5 years and a day before Medicaid is needed (the lookback period).
Qualified Income Trust
If you do not meet the income requirement but meet the asset requirement, we can help to create a qualified income trust (QIT). In this arrangement, all income over the eligibility threshold is transferred into an irrevocable trust. The income held by the trust can only be used for certain limited purposes, however, such as covering living expenses.
One way to reduce countable assets is to spend the money that limits your ability to qualify for Medicaid, such as making home improvements (provided the value of the home does not exceed the excludable threshold) or paying down debt. You can also make annual gifts up to $16,000 per year to as many people as you like as long as the gifts are made prior to the 5-year Medicaid lookback period.
Contact Our Experienced Shelby County Medicaid Planning Attorney Today!
At Berkley Oliver, we have extensive experience advising clients on Medicaid planning and will work with you to explore all your options so that your future medical needs are met. Contact our office today for a consultation.
Berkley Oliver PLLC helps clients with Medicaid planning in Shelbyville and Shelby, Spencer, Anderson, Franklin, and Jefferson Counties.