When to Apply for Medicaid for an Elderly Family Member
However, if there is any doubt as to whether the patient has resources or income that would prevent them from receiving Medicaid, a trained professional can save time, money, stress, and Medicaid disqualification. . The professional may be a lawyer specializing in the law of the elderly (this is true even if the patient is under 65, if they are disabled), a Medicaid planning professional, a regional agency on aging, or a responsible for geriatric care. They should be able to advise you on the various planning techniques that could be used, including how to legally reduce your assets before applying for Medicaid and how to avoid financial movements that could disqualify your loved one.
The advantages of professional advice
Don’t underestimate the value of bringing in the professionals to help you. As a caregiver, I tried to deal with everything on my own. Although at the time I felt there was no time to pump the brakes and explore our options, looking back I know that a few hours of working with a professional would have spared hours of mind-blowing research and thousands of expense. dollars.
I remember what was perhaps the most stressful time of my life as a caregiver: my mother had just come out of the nursing home where she had spent a few months. (We paid out of pocket for those months.) She was at the point where she could walk with a walker – a huge improvement over barely able to stand. The first night she was home I heard her scream from the bathroom. Her legs had abandoned her. She couldn’t support herself and thought she was having a heart attack. Paramedics took her to hospital, where doctors determined she was not having a heart attack and sent her back. She was not referred to rehabilitation; she went to a hospice. Once the hospice stabilized her, the hospice team initially suggested sending her to another long-term care facility. My mind ran from Mom can walk and she’s coming home! To She’s dying on the bathroom floor To Don’t tell me we’re going back to rehab To Don’t tell me she’s dying To We can’t afford another nursing home. It was crippling and a stress I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. In the end, mom was allowed to stay in the hospice, but now I know she would have had more options if I had committed to exploring them.
It’s never too late to revise
Even if your loved one is already in a nursing home, it might not be too late to plan for additional financial support for their health care. A Medicaid beneficiary may be doubly eligible for Medicare or receive veteran benefits. A Medicaid claimant can be married and their spouse can have assets up to a much higher limit than that of a single Medicaid claimant. Explore all of the options, as the application process can take some time. There are a variety of programs and services, and Medicaid is by no means a unique program. Understand that there may be limited services, waiting lists, and enrollment caps that would act as barriers to getting services right away.
When a major medical incident arises, even though your world may seem turned upside down, seek advice on Medicaid and insurance options from your loved one as soon as possible. Medicaid benefits may even apply retroactively to the patient; in my state of Florida, a Medicaid claimant who has unpaid medical bills three months prior to their claim may be eligible for coverage for them. There is no open enrollment period for Medicaid (meaning there isn’t a certain window of time each year that applicants can be processed), so you or your care partner can apply anytime.
And if there are plans to move your loved one from their state of residence to yours, be aware that Medicaid does not transfer state to state and you will need to apply in the new state of residence. So, incorporate that into your moving plan.
While you and your loved ones have the luxury of being healthy and successful today, remember that a person who is 65 today has a 70% chance of having need long term care. While it can be uncomfortable to discuss money matters with our parents or children, planning for the financial resources you might need in the future will certainly make a time of crisis much easier to bear.