There are currently over 44 million people in this country aged 65 and over. In addition to health and aging, these older Americans now face numerous issues related to retirement and asset management. Many of these people have worked hard all their lives, putting away money for their future. Not only has the goal been to support themselves in their elder years, but also to leave behind something for their families. Unfortunately, the skyrocketing cost of medical care and the need for nursing home care can completely deplete those funds they worked so hard to save. At Cavallo & Cavallo, our elder law attorneys can help you and your loved ones protect your assets and prevent your life savings from being depleted by high healthcare costs. One of the ways we accomplish this is through Medicaid planning.
What Medicaid Covers
Medicaid is a combined state and federal program to assist people in paying the high costs of healthcare. Medicaid offers comprehensive medical care for little to no cost. While operating within federal standards and guidelines, each state administers their own Medicaid program. In the state of New York, the program is operated by the Department of Health. Under the federal guidelines, Medicaid covered health care expenses include the following:
- Preventative care and treatment;
- Hospital inpatient and outpatient care;
- Lab and x-ray services;
- Medicine, supplies, and medical equipment, such as wheelchairs;
- Nursing home care;
- Home health care and personal care services;
- Transportation costs to and from doctor’s appointments; and
- Ambulance service in medical emergencies.
In addition to being federally funded, many people feel that Medicaid provides the most comprehensive medical insurance available. There’s only one catch: in order to qualify, you must meet certain income guidelines. Medicaid is primarily for low income people, or those with disabilities. Often times, Medicaid won’t kick in until the assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate are depleted.
Eligibility for Medicaid
Federal law requires states to ensure that certain groups are eligible for Medicaid. In determining Medicaid eligibility, both income and eligibility for Supplemental Social Security (SSI) are factors. Retirement benefits and money in savings or 401k accounts would likely make many people ineligible.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend your entire life savings or money that had been set aside for your children’s inheritance in order to qualify for Medicaid. A Medicaid trust is one tool that enables you to shelter assets so that they are no longer counted towards Medicaid eligibility. Establishing a Medicaid trust enables you to accomplish three goals:
- Provide for you and your spouse’s material needs, both now and in the future;
- Preserve the assets you intend to leave to your children or loved ones; and
- Prevent your assets from being depleted by the high costs of medical and nursing home care.
Contact Our Estate Planning Attorneys
To find out more about protecting your assets through a Medicaid Trust, contact our experienced New York estate planning attorneys today. At Cavallo & Cavallo, our attorneys have experience helping clients just like you protect and preserve the assets they’ve worked hard to get. With offices in the Bronx as well as Westchester, we provide compassionate and effective legal service in handling all your estate planning needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.