How an Estate Planning Attorney in Massachusetts Can Help
If you’ve never thought about qualifying for Medicaid, you’re not alone. This government health insurance program has strict low income limits and was created to provide health care for those in the poverty zone. However, retired baby boomers are learning that getting older isn’t cheap. Even substantial savings, Medicare and supplementary health insurance coverage might not be enough to cover long-term care costs, and the assets you’ve earned over a lifetime could easily be lost.
How Does Medicaid Planning in Massachusetts Work?
In order to qualify for Medicaid, you have to meet strict eligibility requirements so that you will automatically qualify if and when you ever need to. It’s best to do this in partnership with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney who can assist you with the Medicaid eligibility process.
Why You Might Need to Qualify for Medicaid
After you reach age 65, there’s a 50 percent chance that you may need long-term care. After you reach age 85, that chance increases to 75 percent. Long-term care in Massachusetts is expensive. In 2015, a one-month stay at a long-term care facility cost about $12,000, and a one-year stay averaged out to about $150,000. Given that the average stay in long-term care is almost three years, your total cost might be almost $450,000.
What If You Have Medicare?
Medicare covers long-term care only under certain limited conditions and not for very long. Most health insurance policies don’t cover long-term care at all unless you pay extra for a long-term care rider. However, Medicaid does and will cover long-term care if you qualify.
What Are the Income and Asset Restrictions for Massachusetts Medicaid Eligibility?
The income and asset restrictions differ depending on whether the person applying is married or single. For someone who is married, the couple’s combined assets can be no more than $120,900 (for 2017-2018) plus a car and a home (up to $840,000 value). For a single individual, the total assets cannot exceed $2,000. There are some real estate exclusions for single individuals, however it is important to speak to an attorney, as the eligibility rules can get pretty confusing.
How Does Massachusetts Medicaid Planning Work?
A Massachusetts estate planning attorney can help you to determine the likelihood that you will need long-term care and how your existing assets might impact your Medicaid eligibility. One option to help you qualify would be to set up a trust where you can transfer assets that would otherwise disqualify you. Although you will no longer own these assets, you might still be able to benefit from them.
To learn more about Medicaid eligibility in Massachusetts, schedule a no-cost consultation with an estate planning lawyer at McLane & McLane.