This year, it’s projected that 4.6 million Floridians will enroll in Medicaid. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid offers benefits like nursing home care, which is critical for many senior citizens. While hugely beneficial, applying and qualifying for Medicaid can be an extensive and arduous process, which should be facilitated by a Florida Medicaid Attorney to eliminate error and denial of vital health care.
We answer common questions about what a Florida Medicaid Attorney does and how they can help you qualify for Medicaid below.
What is Medicaid Planning?
There comes a time in most people’s lives when they need long-term care, despite its exceedingly high costs. Medicaid planning involves identifying opportunities to preserve hard-earned assets when an individual, spouse or parent needs full-time nursing care.
As part of long-term care planning, Medicaid planning is a strategy that allocates how funds will be used to support a healthy spouse in case of a married couple or be set aside to supplement an individual’s family at death.
A Florida Medicaid Attorney can help with the two stages of Medicaid planning:
This involves the transferring of assets five years or more before nursing home admission is anticipated. Through careful estate planning, these assets can be used for the care of an individual or couple for the remainder of their lives and can be inherited by children or heirs after death.
Planning Just Before Nursing Home Admission
While advanced planning is always recommended, it’s not always possible for every individual. With this type of planning, a Florida Medicaid Attorney will transfer assets at or around the time of nursing home admission, before the Medicaid application.
Assets transferred within five years of applications incur a penalty, meaning that Medicaid will not pay for nursing care for a period of time. During this period, non-gifted assets are used to pay for nursing care until Medicaid can cover the bills to ensure that care remains uninterrupted.
What is Elder Law?
Elder law is a branch of legal practice specializing in issues affecting the aging population. Florida Medicaid Attorneys who practice elder law help people prepare for financial freedom and autonomy through strategic financial planning to ensure they can meet the rising costs of living.
These lawyers can handle financial and estate planning matters, as well as take care of daily issues affecting a senior’s care, like assisted living and life planning. Most are equipped to handle potentially sensitive and challenging situations that arise during Medicaid planning.
What does a Florida Medicaid Attorney do?
Qualifying for Medicaid is a complex process because while the Federal government sets Medicaid policies and contributes money to the state medical aid fund, each state manages its individual Medicaid program.
As a legal professional familiar with complex laws governing Medicaid programs, a Medicaid Attorney can help ensure individuals receive the Medicaid care they are entitled to. This includes first-time applicants or helping those who have been denied and need to appeal.
Why should I hire a Florida Medicaid attorney to manage my application?
While Medicaid is a beneficial healthcare program, it is still a bureaucracy between federal and state governments. Because it’s a complex system, mistakes, denials and delays inevitably occur. The application time is also consuming and the review process lengthy, taking anywhere between 45 and 90 days, depending on whether the individual has a disability determination.
Furthermore, to qualify, applicants over the age of 65 are limited to $2,000 in countable assets. While it’s possible to transfer assets over this amount to become eligible, this should be completed strategically five years before to avoid penalties, which requires careful estate and family care agreement planning.
Even if you transfer your assets well within the allocated time frame, any unexplained expenses on your application may be treated as a disqualifying transfer for assets to family members. The consequences of submitting an incorrect application and appeal can be costly and cause unnecessary delay, which is why hiring a Florida Medicaid Attorney to manage your application is highly recommended.
What if my Medicaid application has already been denied?
When it comes to Medicaid appeals, the proper handling of responses is crucial to preserving appeal rights. Many a time, the denial of claims by Medicare and Medicaid in pre-and post-payments may be inaccurate. A Medicaid Attorney will assess if the appeal denial is erroneous and take the correct legal action to ensure the litigation process is properly executed.
My spouse is going into a nursing home. Can a Florida Medicaid attorney help me save my assets?
It’s a prevalent misconception to assume an individual has to forfeit all their assets when their spouse goes into a nursing home. The Spousal Impoverishment Protection ensures spouses have the minimum support needed to continue living in their community while their husband or wife receives long-term care benefits.
As of 2021, Florida permits the community spouse to keep at least $2,178.00 in monthly income or up to $3,260 in certain cases. Of course, a Florida Medicaid Attorney will rarely advise you to give away all your assets. Instead, they can help implement various strategies and legal mechanisms such as annuities, irrevocable trusts and promissory notes to ensure your assets are protected from equalization.
Medicaid supports one in nine people in Florida, but this number will continue to increase with the presiding pandemic and aging population, leaving greater room for error. To prevent elder exploitation, submitting an incorrect application and suffering the subsequent denial of needed care, we advise hiring a Florida Medicaid Attorney.
Experienced and Trusted South Florida Medicaid Planning Attorney
You are not required to sell your home to qualify for Medicaid in Florida. With 20 years of Medicaid Planning experience, South Florida Attorney Barry D. Siegel at The Siegel Law Group, P.A., knows firsthand what can happen if you are unprepared for life’s greatest challenges. A knowledgeable Medicaid Planning Lawyer can provide legal guidance throughout the Medicaid process.