Column: Medicaid needs should be planned early

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Commentary by Lisa Dillman

Medicaid has become the single-largest provider of financial assistance for nursing home residents. Why? Long-term care is so expensive that most families exhaust their hard-earned savings within two years of a family member moving into a nursing home.

However, families can use Medicaid Planning to protect their assets.

Don’t delay

Families often think they have plenty of time to worry about paying for long-term care or to protect assets. However, Medicaid planning needs to occur at least five years before the Medicaid application process because of the program’s five-year look-back period.

Medicaid can look back over a period of five years in Indiana when running the financial analysis to determine if you qualify for coverage. Medicaid checks to ensure no assets were sold or given away for less than they are worth in order for an applicant to meet the asset eligibility limit.

For Medicaid purposes, the transfer of assets to a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust is seen as a gift and violates the look back rule, which can result in a period of Medicaid ineligibility.

Medicaid Asset Protection Trust

Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, MAPT, are irrevocable trusts that can be valuable tools for Medicaid planning. When an irrevocable trust is established, there is a trustee appointed that manages all assets and decisions regarding the trust.

Those creating a MAPT will need to transfer assets into the trust and avoid applying for Medicaid for at least five years. After that, the client will be fully protected and qualify for Medicaid.

Why you might deed Medicaid

Some people doubt they will ever need Medicaid to pay for care. However, there are many different categories of Medicaid. Medicaid Waiver, one of the categories, offers benefits that often come as a surprise.

Medicaid Waiver can pay for:

• Adult day services/adult day care

• Assisted living services

• In-home care

• Home modifications, such as the ddition of walk-in tubs, grab bars, etc.

• Homemaker services, such as laundry, house cleaning and meal preparation.

• Nutritional supplements.

• Pest control.

Dillman is an attorney for Applegate & Dillman Elder Law. If you or a loved one could benefit from Medicaid Planning, please don’t hesitate to contact Applegate & Dillman Elder Law at 317-492-9569.


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