The Colorado Medicaid program allows those with few assets and limited income to access medical care. Many older adults will eventually need to apply for Medicaid, and without proper planning, there are numerous pitfalls to that process.
Medicaid is a needs-based program, which means that there is a financial review involved before the state will approve someone for coverage. Advance planning for Medicaid before you need benefits can be an important part of preparing for retirement or revisiting your estate plan in your golden years.
After all, if you end up hospitalized because of a broken bone or requiring the support of a nursing home facility, long-term rehabilitative care and nursing home stays aren’t treatments that Medicare covers. You will need to qualify for Medicaid to pay for those care costs. There are steps you can take now that will help you streamline the process.
Identify and place a value on your major assets
Your investment portfolio or vacation home could prevent you from qualifying for Medicaid eventually. Your primary residence typically will not affect your eligibility, but it may be vulnerable to the suit claims after you die.
Locating and putting a value on your biggest assets can help you determine what changes you need to make to qualify for Medicaid and what assets you can potentially shield from estate recovery efforts by Medicaid and other creditors. If you want to protect certain property, you may need to establish a trust, and there are rules that determine if a trust will protect your property or potentially prevent you from qualifying for benefits.
Perform an honest assessment of your retirement plans
Will you sell the house in the next year or two to move into a supportive and social retirement community? If so, then the proceeds of the sale, not the home, will impact your Medicaid application. Will you stay married, and will you continue to maintain a separate household?
If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars set aside specifically for nursing home care costs or in-home nursing support, you could run out of assets if you attempt to fund your own care as your health declines later in life.
Preparing carefully as you start thinking about Medicaid planning and your golden years will make protecting yourself as you age easier.