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Common Medicaid Mistakes

    Florida Medicaid Planning Mistakes

    For 15 years we have successfully helped families throughout Florida preserve their assets and qualify for Florida Nursing Home Medicaid benefits.

    This material is a collection of the most common medicaid planning mistakes that we have seen in our practice and it is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. This information is not intended to replace the assistance of an attorney in any particular situation. 

    1) Thinking that it is too late to start Medicaid planning. It is never too late to begin Medicaid Planning. Even if a family member is already in a nursing home, assets can still be protected. There are strategies that we can use to help qualify for Medicaid in a short timeframe. 

    2) Believing that MEDICARE pays for the cost of nursing home care.  Unfortunately, most people are not aware that Medicare and private Medicare supplement insurance do not cover the cost of long term care. In fact, Medicare provides for short term assistance with nursing home costs, up to 100 days of coverage, but only if you meet the strict qualification rules. 

    3) Applying for Medicaid benefits too late.  Although some families spend virtually all of their life savings to pay for nursing home care, Medicaid often does not require it. There are several strategies that Medicaid permits that will not cause a disqualifying/penalty period. 

    4) Not utilizing asset shelters created by Congress. Certain transfers are permitted without causing a disqualifying or penalty period for Medicaid eligibility. These include transfers to caretaker children, certain siblings, disabled children, and into trust for anyone who is disabled and under age 65; a transfer to a “pay-back” trust if under age 65; and a transfer to a pooled disability trust at any age. However, the rules governing these types of transfers are specific and should only by used under the guidance of a Medicaid Planning attorney. 

    5) Transferring assets without the guidance of a Medicaid planning Attorney. There are different strategies that are used for Medicaid pre- planning and Medicaid crisis-planning, however, part of the planning is taking into the account the transfer rules and penalties. 

    6) Transferring the homestead to the children directly by way of a quitclaim deed – or other poor planning with the homestead – in an attempt to preserve the home from Medicaid claims or liens. 

    7) Believing that if you enter a nursing home as private pay, you have to wait until a Medicaid bed is available before you can qualify for Medicaid. This is incorrect, however you may be told this because private pay patients pay nursing homes more than the state does for Medicaid patients. Also, when someone enters a nursing home they cannot be discharged because they change from private pay to Medicaid. However, if you plan to start as a private pay patient, be sure to ask if the facility accepts Medicaid. 

    8) Giving away all your assets too early. It is important to be sure that the financial security of the spouse living in the community as well as the Medicaid applicant is not compromised. Thus, careful planning needs to take place before you gift all your money to your children. Also, exorbitant transfer can cause Medicaid problems. 

    9) Applying fof Medicaid benefits too early. In some cases this can result in a longer ineligibility period. 

    10) Making transfers into and out of the wrong type(s) of trusts. 

    11) Hiding your assets to become eligibile for Medicaid benefits. Intentional misrepresentation of assets is a crime. Furthermore, there are several planning strategies that are available to legally restructure your assets and shelter them from long-term care costs. Therefore, with proper planning hiding assets is not necessary. 

    12) Assuming that the rules that applied to your friend will also apply to you. Florida Medicaid rules are complex and are frequently changing. In addition, each situation is unique and has different facts. Therefore, you should not take any action before you have met with an experienced Medicaid Planning attorney in your state. 

    13) Following the advice of nursing home social workers without getting a second opinion from a Medicaid Planning attorney. Social workers are a great resource to assist people in situations where an individual does not have any assets that they are trying to preserve. However, if you need to preserve assets to care for the spouse that is living in the community or to pass to other family members, then it is best to consult with an experienced Medicaid Planning attorney. Our focus is to use strategies that are best suited for each family’s unique needs. Wrong or incomplete answers can cost you thousands of dollars each month, however, proper planning may save you $60,000 or more each year. 

    14) Failing to get expert help at all. Often in our practice we see two situations: (1) Families who have spent much more than necessary on long term care expenses thereby jeopardizing their family’s security; and (2) Families who have made transfers without the guidance of a Medicaid Planning attorney thereby incurring long penalty periods which prevent the applicant from receiving benefits during his/her lifetime. It is well worth the time to meet with a Medicaid Planning attorney who can give you peace of mind and protect your family’s financial security. 

    Don’t delay your long-term care planning. Contact our office today to find out we can help preserve your assets and give you peace of mind. 

    Please call our office at (305) 932-2293 for an Elder Care Lawyer and Florida Medicaid Planning Attorney in Aventura, Miami, North Miami Beach, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, North Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah or any city in Dade County to find out how we can help you or a loved one pay for the cost of a nursing home and legally preserve assets. 

    For an elder law attorney and Florida Medicaid Attorney in Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Coconut Creek, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Miramar, Plantation or any city in Broward County, please call (954) 760-7077 for more information about how our elder law firm can help your loved one qualify for government programs, including Nursing Home Medicaid and assisted Living Medicaid. 

    You may also email us at barbara@buxtonlaw.com and we will promptly contact you. If you are an out-of-state relative of a Florida resident you may schedule a telephone appointment with Attorney Barbara Buxton.