Medicaid Planning FAQs

Attorney Assisting Harrison and Panola County Residents with Health Care Needs

Frequently Asked Questions: Medicaid Planning Many people are intimidated by the costs of long-term care as they age. As long as you meet certain financial guidelines, you can rely on Medicaid to pay the cost of your stay in a facility or the cost of receiving home care. Shelia McCoy is an experienced Harrison and Panola County Medicaid planning lawyer who understands the subtleties of this process. Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. However, this is a complicated area of the law, and certain aspects of it may change on a yearly basis, making it especially important to consult a knowledgeable attorney.

Medicaid Planning FAQs

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that is funded by federal and Texas funds. It helps the elderly, the disabled, and the blind. If you are eligible, it will cover all of your necessary medical services, which can include long-term nursing care.

What is Medicaid planning?

Medicaid planning is the use of various legal strategies to allow an individual to meet the financial eligibility requirements. Many people do not have enough money to pay for long-term care but also have slightly too much to qualify for Medicaid. You should retain an attorney to conduct the appropriate Medicaid planning, since doing it improperly can result in disqualification for up to five years.

What is the cost of nursing home care?

Nursing homes provide 24-hour skilled nursing care and other supportive services for the elderly and disabled. The average monthly cost of nursing home care in 2017 is $4,923. Most people cannot afford this cost on their own. Each state, including Texas, has its own rules about how many assets and how much income you can have and still qualify for Medicaid.

Who qualifies for Medicaid?

People who receive Supplemental Security Income or who participate in Texas' Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program and kids in the foster care system automatically qualify for Medicaid in Texas. However, people who are at least 65 years old, blind, or disabled must meet certain income and asset limits in order to qualify.

What are Countable Resources in Texas?

Certain resources do not need to be included in the countable assets that are subject to a limit under Medicaid rules. These assets include your home, your car, certain categories of household goods, certain personal effects, burial spaces, prepaid nonrefundable burial contracts, segregated burial funds up to $1,500, and some other assets. The maximum amount of home equity that you can have when applying for Medicaid is $560,000.

What are the Income and Asset Limits?

These numbers change each year. In 2017, a Medicaid recipient cannot have income over $2,205. However, Medicaid planning with a knowledgeable attorney can help you qualify. It may be possible to create a Miller Trust (also known as a qualified income trust), among other strategies, so that you meet income eligibility requirements. This trust does not provide a shelter for income, however. Most of the funds will ultimately go toward care.

Spouses who both need Medicaid for long-term care are limited in the value of the assets that they can have to qualify, and this number changes each year. Similarly, the limits change each year for situations when one spouse applies for Medicaid, but the other does not. In 2017, a spouse who is not applying for Medicaid can keep 50% of their assets up to $120,900 in countable assets, as well as 100% of their marital assets up to $24,180. Your home is not a countable asset, but Medicaid can look for repayment from your estate in probate court after you pass away.

Can I Transfer Property?

It is best to start your planning long before you need to enter a nursing home. Transfers of assets are penalized within what is called a look-back period, which is the five-year period immediately preceding the date on which you file for Medicaid benefits. Uncompensated transfers during the look-back period are penalized with periods of ineligibility for Medicaid. The length of the ineligibility period depends on how large the transfer was. Some transfers are exempt.

Explore Your Options with a Medicaid Planning Attorney in Harrison or Panola County

Medicaid planning in Texas can be quite complicated. Serving Harrison and Panola County residents, Shelia McCoy is an experienced lawyer who may be able to help you qualify for Medicaid and address related legal issues. She also assists people who need a family law attorney in Carthage, Beckville, DeBerry, Gary, Tatum, Marshall, Longview, Waskom, Elysian Fields, Harleton, Karnack, Hallsville, Scottsville, and other communities. Call us at (903) 935-1190 or use our online form to set up an appointment.

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