Medicaid Application Services Are NOT Medicaid Planning

by David Goldfarb

New York Elder Law AttorneyNursing home care is extremely expensive, and even a relatively short stay in one has the potential to wipe out a patient’s entire estate. For this reason, many people who are going into nursing homes take steps to establish and preserve Medicaid eligibility so that government benefits at least partially subsidize their care.

According to an article published in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) News Journal, Medicaid application services that purport to help incoming nursing home patients meet the cost of care are actually subverting traditional, attorney-provided Medicaid planning. According to NAELA, “…when “Medicaid application” services focus only on ultimate eligibility, and not how to protect spouses and family members, it is the nursing home and not the resident or her family that is being served.”

Medicaid Planning Services May Mislead Consumers

NAELA argues that while Medicaid application services that prepare applications on behalf of patients perform a valuable function, the fact that their staff is not trained to analyze eligibility can result in the loss of important rights for nursing home patients.

In addition, many of these services advertise the fact that they offer “comprehensive Medicaid planning services,” can help patients navigate the Medicaid rules, understand and have expertise in Medicaid law and procedures, and have familiarity with local Medicaid staff. In reality, their own contracts limit their services to assistance with the application and require their clients to acknowledge that they are not receiving legal advice or services. According to NAELA, this disconnect between their promises to consumers and the agreement into which they enter belies the fact that their primary interest is in helping nursing homes ensure that their residents are Medicaid-eligible, not ensuring best outcomes for residents.

An Attorney Will Protect Your Rights and Future

A Medicaid application service is no substitute for the assistance of experienced Medicaid planning attorney. Medicaid planning is an extremely complicated area of law, and failing to seek the advice of a skilled lawyer can result in a substantial, yet completely avoidable, dissipation of your assets. Here are some of the things that an attorney will consider that will that a Medicaid application service will likely not address:

  • Spend-down strategies that can move cash into assets that will not affect Medicaid eligibility determinations
  • Medicaid-qualified annuities
  • Exempt transfers to co-tenant siblings or children who provide care
  • “Gift and Loan” strategies

Call Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP Today to Schedule a Consultation With a New York Elder Law Attorney

Help with a Medicaid application is no substitute for the comprehensive planning that an experienced lawyer can provide. At Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP, we have represented the rights of older adults for more than 25 years and are committed to helping our client prepare for the future and protect their assets. To schedule a consultation with one of our Medicaid attorneys serving New York, call us today at (212) 387-8400 or contact us online.