Medicaid is a needs-based system that can provide value healthcare benefits to you or your loved one. One of the most valuable benefits is long term care Medicaid, where the government can help cover most, if not all, of your nursing home care costs. But these government benefits are not just handed to anyone. You must qualify – and qualifying is a serious and complex process. When your goal is to avoid paying $6,800+ each month in nursing home bills, you cannot afford your Medicaid application to go wrong. That’s why it’s essential to seek an experienced Medicaid attorney’s guidance as soon as possible.
How Can An Attorney Help Me Qualify For Medicaid?
You may be surprised to learn that Medicaid is extensive and complex. It is not like ordering a sandwich at a restaurant or coffee from Starbucks. You must qualify for benefits to receive them, and qualifying requires you to understand Medicaid’s strict eligibility rules. To avoid burdening yourself with this task, a skilled elder law attorney can help you know which benefits you qualify for and how to receive those benefits as soon as you need them.
For example, your assets and income cannot exceed state limits. If you exceed state limits, you could be determined ineligible and lose out on significant Medicaid benefits. You might not know which of your assets Medicaid considers or how your past financial transactions can result in your ineligibility. You might be unaware of essential asset protection strategies – ways to keep some or all your assets without sacrificing your eligibility. Fortunately, a Medicaid planning attorney can help you understand these things more clearly. More importantly, they can help you make the right decisions with your finances so that you don’t face obstacles getting approved for long term care benefits.
Can An Attorney Help Me With My Indiana Medicaid Application?
An attorney will take the time to understand your needs, explain Medicaid benefits that might be available to you, protect as much of your assets as possible, and help ensure that your Medicaid application goes through. A skilled elder law attorney knows how to identify your assets, income, and other essential information in your application.
For example, you’ll potentially have to identify the past five years of your financial transactions in your Medicaid application. Medicaid can require copies of tax returns and account statements for this five-year period. If you are married, this includes your spouse’s financial transactions. So, you’ll have to undergo thorough analysis and explain the rationale behind transfers, gifts, and other transactions (e.g. opening and closing accounts). Your attorney can make sense of your entire financial situation and present that information accurately and cohesively to Medicaid. This can prevent any possible delay or denial of your application by Medicaid. Remember that a denial of just one month of nursing home Medicaid can cause you to spend $6,800+ out of pocket for care.
What If My Medicaid Application Is Denied?
Medicaid applications can be denied for many reasons. Your income or assets might be above the state limits, or you might have made impermissible transfers of assets within five years of applying. Denials could also stem from your health status (e.g. not requiring nursing home level of care). If your Medicaid application is incomplete or inaccurate, this may result in your application getting denied.
Whatever the reason, Indiana Medicaid must provide you with a denial notice within 45-90 days. In this notice, Medicaid is supposed to inform you of the reasons for denying your application. You should be alerted to your rights, including the right to appeal, have a hearing, and have an attorney by your side.
Indiana Medicaid Attorney
To learn more about Medicaid planning in Indiana, you should consult with an elder law attorney. Click here to learn more about Medicaid planning strategies in Indiana.
About The Authors
Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins co-author this blog with Thomas E. Hynes, a lawyer admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida who has a background in estate planning and elder law. Jeff and Jennifer are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers. They are also active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and the Indiana Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Jeff is also a member of the Illinois NAELA Chapter.
Jeff is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and he served as the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.
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