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Medicaid: How To Plan Ahead For Long Term Care Coverage


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It is possible to protect assets and still qualify for Medicaid in case you need institutionalized long term care. This kind of planning must be done with care. A mistake can be very costly.

Techniques which have been used to qualify for Medicaid and Long Term care (and are discussed in other sections of this document) are:

  • Transfer assets for a reason other than to be eligible for Medicaid
  • Transfer assets
  • Invest in your home up to the legal limit
  • Transfer your home and keep a life estate.
  • Make a loan
  • Make a payment to a Continuing Care Retirement Community
  • Purchase items that Medicaid doesn't count.
  • Make an exempt transfer.
  • Set Up An Supplemental Needs or Other Trust
  • Purchase an annuity (sometimes referred to as a "Medicaid Annuity")
  • Reduce equity in your home
  • Enter into a Caregiving Agreement
  • Get a divorce
  • Ask a significant other to move out
  • Move out yourself
  • Prepay funeral expenses

No one can predict what will happen if you take advantage of a planning alternative, spend the money you have left on care, and have no money left to pay bills during a penalty period during which you can't obtain Medicaid. States can set their own criteria that can help in this situation ("waiver"), but there is no certainty.

An elder care attorney who has had practical experience in your state is likely to be the best advisor to help you. Even with the information about Medicaid on this site, we discourage you from taking any planning action on your own, other than purchasing Long Term Care Insurance. (You can likely save money if you prepare a plan that works for you then show it to an elder care attorney, or other experienced professional to review the plan with you to help hone it as necessary.) The expense should be minimal if that person only has to review your plan.

To locate an elder care attorney, contact the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) at offsite link or call Tel.: 520.881.4005 (in Tucson, AZ). Also read: How To Choose An Attorney.

NOTE: If you are reading this material in preparation for something that may happen in the future, consider exploring Long Term Care Insurance which can relieve you of the need to shuffle your assets and income to get Medicaid.

(If you have additional techniques to share, please send them to Survivorship A to Z).

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