Medicaid is a needs-based health insurance plan that targets low-income individuals. Medicaid planning is part of the long-term care planning that you should incorporate into your estate plan. Done right, Medicaid can help take care of your long-term care needs.
However, not everyone qualifies for Medicaid, leaving millions of potentially eligible Americans are at risk of not having the coverage they need as they age and their health conditions deteriorate. Done right, however, and you may not have to worry about your eligibility. But when should you start the process of Medicaid planning?
Do not wait until you need the benefits
There is no perfect time to start planning your Medicaid. Rather, getting started as early as possible is always prudent. This is because your application will be subjected to financial scrutiny that will go back over your last five years. Any transfers and gifts uncovered during this scrutiny can impact the outcome of your Medicaid application.
You never know when health concerns will kick in
Most people in nursing homes are over 65 years old. However, no one knows what tomorrow holds. Even younger people can suffer catastrophic injuries or medical situations that may require specialized care.
Ideally, you want to start your Medicaid planning process at least five years before your retirement. Not only does the process consume time, but you may also want to have adequate time between putting your estate plan in place and applying for Medicaid should a need arise.
All too often, there are stories of families that spent everything they had to provide care for their aging loved ones – ultimately leaving them with nothing. However, this does not have to be the case for your family. With proper Medicaid planning, you may be able to control both your finances and healthcare needs.