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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

Applying for Medicaid? Know the basics.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a joint federal and state health care program for eligible individuals in need of medical assistance or care. The program provides aid for serious medical needs, long-term care (in the home or at a nursing home) and rehabilitation. The program also includes several community-based programs.

How do I apply?

You can apply through New York's state program. However, it is suggested that you work with an Elder Law attorney. A lawyer can handle the complexities associated with the application process. Any inaccuracies or failure to include necessary documentation can lead to a denial or delay of benefits. Therefore, it is helpful to work with a professional who can take care of the practical details.

When does Medicaid coverage begin?

Coverage usually commences on a "pending" basis, meaning as soon as you submit an application. The nursing home facility or home care agency will wait to be paid in arrears by the program once your application is complete and approved. This might take a few months. Of course, an attorney can help expedite the process. Do not worry: if you are eligible for Medicaid prior to application approval, you can receive financial reimbursement for health-related expenses that you paid out of pocket (for up to three months).

I have some assets. Do I qualify?

You are eligible for the program in New York if you have no more than $13,800 in assets. If you are married, you cannot have in excess of $20,100.

If you prefer a community-based program, you shouldn't have an income greater than $787 per month. If you do, a lawyer can advise you on how to potentially still qualify and protect excess income.

Is there a limit?

Not really. The program will pay for long-term care - at home or in a nursing home facility - as long as you continue to qualify for the much-needed care.

If you are unsure about whether you qualify for the Medicaid program in New York, your best bet is to speak to a legal professional. You may have a few long-term care options.

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