Posted by: BlogMaster | January 26, 2013

Getting Ready for Medicaid Home Care

Ask any senior where he or she wants to live as they age, and they will likely say they want to stay at home and receive care there for as long as possible.

While assisted living is an attractive option for many seniors – particularly those who enjoy socializing – it may not be viable for frail seniors or for those who do not have the finances to pay the fees.

How can you get ready for home care?  Like all Medicaid planning, it’s best to get ready before you need to apply for Medicaid. I suggest you follow these steps:

  • Identity: Have your identify information collected (Social Security card, Medicare card, supplemental insurance card and policy). If a document is missing, contact the source agency now to request replacements. 
  • Financials: Retain at least 1 year of financial information and keep it up to date (although we recommend saving 5 years of financial information). Currently, for home care applications, the most recent 3 months of financials are required.
  • Property: Keep or purchase a copy of the deed for your property from the county clerk and keep a current real estate tax bill. If you rent your home, keep your lease or other rental agreement in a secure place.
  • Taxes: Even if you don’t file income tax returns, you still receive 1099’s and 1099R’s each year. Save those forms with your banking or other financial information.
  • Health care: Keep a list of your doctors, their contact information and your medications. Currently, NYS permits seniors to join a nonprofit community (pooled) trust organization to legally shelter income in excess of a permitted amount (approximately $800/month). Medical forms must be completed to be certified by Medicaid for use of the trust. If you have been hospitalized, ask for and keep a copy of your discharge summary which lists diagnoses. Explanations of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company can also be useful. 
  • Transfers: As of 2013, there are no transfer penalties (no ‘look back’) for transfers made in order to qualify for home care (but there are transfer penalties for Medicaid nursing home programs). Be sure you keep all paperwork in connection with all transfers; if you worry about having legal capacity to make transfers, you will need a financial Power of Attorney that permits your agent to make those Medicaid gifts. A qualified elder law attorney is a must-have.

Home care services – personal care aides, physical and occupational therapy, and other services – were designed by Medicaid to help seniors remain in their own homes as long as possible. Planning on your part is still essential. Contact my law office if you are considering home care services through Medicaid.   

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