Medicaid provides financial support for expensive medical care to those who would otherwise be unable to pay for their treatment. Given the needs-based nature of Medicaid benefits, there is a negative association in the minds of some people with receiving Medicaid.
However, even those who have been diligent and responsible their entire adult lives may require Medicaid in their golden years. After all, Medicare does not cover the cost of in-home nursing support or living expenses at a nursing home. Older adults who require higher levels of support as they age may eventually need Medicaid to pay for nursing home expenses or other care costs.
Planning ahead for Medicaid as you prepare for retirement will both protect you and the people you love.
How planning protects you
If you do not plan ahead to help yourself qualify quickly when you may need Medicaid benefits in the future, you may have a hard time getting coverage despite a pressing need at some future point. When you apply, the state goes over years of financial records. If there were any transfers or large gifts during that time, you may have to pay a penalty.
You essentially need to find a way to cover care costs on your own behalf for a specific number of weeks if you have a penalty assessed against you. That could mean not getting the care you need or ending up in dire financial straits in your golden years. Advance planning will mean that applying is simpler and less stressful and that you will have less of a delay.
How planning protects your family
Estate recovery efforts by Medicaid can lay waste to the resources you may have hoped to pass to your children or grandchildren when you die. New Jersey’s Medicaid estate recovery program allows the state to seek reimbursement for the full value of all medical benefits provided before your death. Even your home may be subject to sale to recoup medical care costs. Additionally, your family members may feel pressure to pay your care costs themselves if you have to cover a Medicaid penalty.
Adequate advance planning helps preserve assets for the next generation while also diminishing the pressure on your loved ones to help support you as you age. Engaging in Medicaid planning will help you feel confident about your financial stability as you near retirement.