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When should you start Medicaid planning?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2020 | Estate Planning

Even if you are healthy and active right now, you may eventually lose some of your faculties because of illness, injury or old age. If so, you may choose to move into a nursing home to receive the care you need. Unfortunately, though, nursing homes can be almost unbelievably expensive. As such, you likely want to explore options for paying for this type of care. 

The median annual cost to live in a nursing home is roughly $100,000. Even if you have accumulated substantial assets over the course of your lifetime, you may quickly run through your financial resources. Fortunately, there may be a way both to preserve your personal wealth and pay for the nursing home. 

Qualifying for Medicaid

In broad terms, provided you have limited financial resources, Medicaid covers nursing home expenses. Living in a nursing home must also be medically necessary. Your doctor can usually certify this. To know if you have limited financial resources, however, you must compare your wealth to the Pennsylvania Medicaid eligibility guidelines. 

Protecting your assets

With comprehensive estate planning, it is often possible to exempt many assets from the Medicaid-qualification equation. For example, you may choose to create a trust to transfer ownership of your assets. In theory, if the trust owns the wealth, it falls outside the Medicaid calculation. Regardless of your approach, understanding how the right type of estate planning can protect your assets is essential. 

Starting the process

Typically, starting Medicaid planning early is a wise idea. After all, not only does the process take time, but you also likely want as much time as possible between drafting your estate plan and applying for Medicaid. Nonetheless, it is never too late to start the process. Even if you do not think you will ever need a nursing home, exploring your options is a good approach. 

While moving into a nursing home may seem to be far in your future, you want to be ready. Nonetheless, you must recognize nursing homes are pricey. By understanding both how to qualify for Medicaid and how to safeguard your wealth, you keep control over both your healthcare and your finances.