How an attorney can help with a Medicaid application

by | Oct 18, 2017 | Blog, Firm News |

Medicaid is a government health care program for those who need economic assistance for coverage. While it covers many age groups in New Jersey, it is best known for helping the elderly afford health care. The program provides means for expensive health care coverage like nursing homes and home-based care.

Medicaid’s website reports that nursing home expenses can cost between $5,000 and $8,000 per month. It’s extremely expensive, even for those with stable financial backgrounds. A long-term stay can quickly drain retirement savings, and the medical costs of one partner in a relationship will affect his or her spouse.

Which program is right for you?

Like any program, there are conditions of application. How an applicant fills out the form, what assets you own, and your individual situation will all affect the outcome. When it comes to health care, it’s essential to get the right coverage as soon as possible.

In New Jersey, qualifications depend on monthly income and the overall value of your assets. Other qualifications may include disability, age and other medical concerns. There are many programs, each with different requirements.

Some applications are more direct than others. For example, filing for medical coverage at home is less complicated than a Medicaid application to cover nursing home care. When trying to choose the right path, it’s wise to consult with an elder care attorney in your state to make sure you know what fits your needs and offers the best coverage for your situation, both today and looking to the future. You will need the best health care you can afford, while also providing for loved ones like a spouse and surviving family members.

The Medicaid spend down

Medicaid applications undergo thorough review because of their asset limitations. Anyone filing based on their assets will need proof of assets and expenses, dating back five years. This is to make sure that assets haven’t been given away to cheat the system.

One option, if established in advance, is a “Medicaid spend down.” This term refers to getting rid of assets in order to qualify for the minimum value. Because many try to fraud the system, there are firm rules in place about how and when assets change ownership—which is why it’s important to plan ahead and to keep a strong paper trail. An elder law attorney can help with the application process by reviewing assets, documentation and helping you to make the right decision for your individual situation.