Applying for Medicaid: What You Need to Know.

Applying for Medicaid is almost always needed to pay for the high cost of long term care for family members with dementia.

The Medicaid program is intended to serve people who meet tough low asset, low income guidelines. Individuals whose monthly income exceeds the low income guidelines must pay a sort of co-payment for services called share of costs.

If your family member has limited income, assets and investments, long term care costs will quickly use up her money. It's time to begin planning when she will qualify for Medicaid.

Middle class families are the families with the most to lose when applying for Medicaid for a family member with dementia. Your family member may have a strong wish to pass on a financial legacy to the family. Paying for long term care will quickly deplete his resources. That's why it's critical that when a long term care situation seems likely or has already started that you seek the help of a Medicaid specialist.

Without careful planning, your family member's Medicaid spend down will erode any wealth that your family member has acquired. Further, recovery where the government seeks repayment of Medicaid moneys spent on your family member's care from his estate after his death, can wipe out any remaining wealth.

The government designates two classes of assets when evaluating whether a person qualifies for Medicaid. Countable assets are assets that must be used for the person's care prior to the person being placed on Medicaid. Exempt assets are exempt from being used for the person's care but may be subject to recovery after the person's death.

Before applying for Medicaid, a private Medicaid specialist can help you convert countable assets to exempt assets and take steps to protect assets from recovery.

If Medicaid planning is done improperly, it can result in a delay in your family member receiving services. Carefully investigate and check the references of anyone you hire to assist you.

It's important not to conduct Medicaid planning in a vacuum. You should consider all your financial goals and how any changes you make your family member's portfolio will affect his care.

Your Medicaid planning should be supported by expert advice to prevent common misunderstandings about the process from having a negative impact on when your family member will qualify for services.

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