What are some of the most common issues that arise when you need to qualify for Medicaid to pay for long term care?
1. Not having a General Durable Power of Attorney!! Why is this so important when applying for Medicaid benefits? You’ve probably heard of that little thing called a look back period. Medicaid will look back at your assets for the previous five years when applying for long term care Medicaid. So what does “look back” actually mean for you? It means that you will need to obtain many types of records, including financial records, for the last five years and provide those to the Department of Social Services. Unless your loved one has a power of attorney document, more than likely you won’t be able to just waltz up to the bank and ask for records. Trust me, telling them it’s for Medicaid will not open any magic doors. You may need to obtain life insurance records or other personal information for your loved one as well. If you or your loved one waits too long to get a power of attorney document in place, you might find yourself in a crisis situation where the only solution is to seek guardianship. Guardianship is a costly and time consuming process that can be so easily avoided by having a general durable power of attorney document in place.
2. Gift-giving!!Everyone loves getting a gift, right? I bet your loved ones love giving gifts too. Maybe it’s grandparents or parents giving gifts for a birthday or wedding. Maybe it’s grandparents paying some of their grandchildren’s college tuition. That’s okay, right? Actually, most gifts such as these can cause a period of ineligibility for Medicaid if skilled nursing care is needed within 5 years of giving EACH gift. If you plan ahead, there are ways to provide for your loved ones during your life and still qualify for those benefits that 70% of seniors will need. Now here’s the kicker, some gifts aren’t even intentional gifts, but they can still cause Medicaid ineligibility for a period of time. Maybe you sold a car for less than it’s tax value or maybe you paid a caregiver without having a written Medicaid-compliant caregiver agreement in place. Those count as gifts for Medicaid purposes too….UNLESS YOU PLAN AHEAD!
3. Not having important discussions with your family!! We often meet with the families of seniors that are in need of care and need Medicaid to help pay for that care. Often we find that families may not have vital asset information that is needed to qualify their loved one for benefits or they might not know where certain important documents are located. These types of conversations are not always the easiest discussions to have with family, but it is incredibly important and could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. The average monthly out of pocket cost of a skilled nursing facility in North Carolina is $7,300. Without Medicaid, just ONE year in a skilled nursing facility will cost an average of $87,600.
Let us help you have those conversations and create a plan that will provide for you and your family for years to come. One of the greatest gifts you CAN give to your loved ones is planning ahead and getting your estate planning affairs in order. Even if you find yourself or your loved one already in a crisis situation and in need of immediate care, it’s not too late! Let us be here to support and guide you through the Medicaid qualification and application process. Please come sit down with one of our attorneys for a free one-hour consultation and let us see how we can help serve you. An hour of your time is worth the peace of mind! 704-749-9244
Benefits Case Manager