Crisis Medicaid Planning Strategies
While planning early often provides more opportunities to protect assets, it’s almost never too late to take some asset-protection steps.
Planning for Medicaid to cover your long-term care costs that occur in advance of need often involves transferring assets, whether outright or in trust, and waiting out the five-year look back period. But even without having taken prior steps to becoming eligible for Medicaid, many strategies may be available for preserving assets. Their availability and benefit may well depend on your circumstances at the time — such as whether or not you are married — and the specific application of the Medicaid rules in your state.
These “crisis” Medicaid planning strategies include:
- Spending down in ways that preserve assets.
- “Half-a-loaf” transfers.
- Immediate annuities.
- Increased resource allowance.
- Transfers to disabled individuals.
- Spousal refusal.
- Increased income allowance.
Since all of these strategies are complex, can depend on state application of the rules, and may or may not work in your situation, we strongly recommend that you consult with a local elder law attorney before acting. But consult sooner, rather than later, because even postponing eligibility for coverage by just a month may well cost substantially more than any legal fees the attorney may charge. An excellent source of elder law attorneys can be found at ElderLawAnswers.com. (Full disclosure: I founded the site.)