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  1. Is Medicaid Planning Ethical?

Yes, Medicaid planning is no different from tax planning. The rules were created by congress for both of these areas which, simply stated if you meet the criteria, you may be entitled to the benefit.  Although congress wrote our tax laws they did not issues each of us a CPA.  We are given the opportunity to seek a professional for help and that is exactly what we provide for those who choose to do Medicaid planning.

  1. Isn’t Medicaid Welfare?

No, Medicaid was established in 1965 under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.  An individual must qualify for the benefit just as they do for Social Security and Medicare.  That being said we don’t believe anyone thinks of Social Security or Medicare as welfare and Medicaid falls in the same category.  These benefits are all funded by tax dollars.  So, if you meet the criteria you could be entitled to the benefits.

  1. If we just give assets away and do not disclose when applying for Medicaid, is that a problem?

Yes, you must disclose everything when applying for Medicaid.  Failure may result in non-approval and possible Medicaid fraud charge.

  1. If I give away my assets can I qualify for Medicaid?

No, If you give away assets you will be ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time.  Planning may reduce the period of ineligibility.

  1. I am concerned that my spouse will not have enough income to live on if I go into a nursing home and my income goes to the nursing home.  Is there a way to insure that my spouse receives my income? 

Yes, depending on the spouse’s income, it is very possible to move some or all of the ill spouse’s income to the at home (healthy) spouse.

  1. Is my house protected if I go into a nursing home?

Yes, The house is not counted as an asset so long as you have intent to return to it and the value is less than $500,000.00.

When I die, can the State of Louisiana take my house?

Yes. The state of Louisiana can recover expenses paid on your behalf out of your estate when you die.  This only applies to nursing home and home based services paid by Medicaid at age 55 or after.   However, with advanced planning the home may be protected in many circumstances.

Can I still give $13,000 away per year?  My CPA has said I can give this amount each year.

No, not without it being considered a transfer. Many people believe you can give away $13,000 per year without affecting Medicaid eligibility. This is not correct.

Is long term care insurance (LTCi) a good idea?

Yes. If you can afford the long term care insurance premiums and meet eligibility requirements, the purchase of insurance is a very good way of managing the risk of an extended stay in a nursing home.  LTCi can put a barrier between you health and your wealth.  However, if one needs their money for essentials instead of insurance premiums, there are ways to plan around it.

Is there anything that can be done to eliminate and/or reduce exposure to long term care cost and still be qualified for Medicaid to pay for my long term care?

Yes, but a plan is required to make sure you are taking the right steps.  This is where a qualified professional who specializes in Medicaid eligibility is critical.