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Baltimore Medicaid Planning Lawyer, Emmett B. Irwin is Here to Help You

Long-term care planning is an essential part of ensuring that your wishes are carried out as you age. Many people think that Medicaid is only for those who are impoverished or have no better options. While it is a needs-based program, careful planning can help middle-class and upper-middle-class families ensure that their long-term health care needs will be met. The cost of long-term care is exorbitant, and without careful planning, you may wind up having to exhaust your savings and other assets in order to qualify. Worse yet, your family and friends may have to support you in your twilight years. Baltimore Medicaid planning lawyer Emmett B. Irwin can assist you and your loved ones throughout the Medicaid planning process.

Why Is Medicaid Planning a Good Idea?

A growing number of older adults are looking at Medicaid planning as part of their long-term care planning due to the rising cost of healthcare. It is very expensive to have skilled medical care as we age, and Medicaid can help give you the care that you deserve. Putting the time into Medicaid planning now can ensure that, when the time comes, you can have access to funds that help to cover:

  • The costs associated with hospitalization
  • Prescription drug expenses
  • Physician visits and outpatient medical services

Unfortunately, Medicaid will only cover the cost of long-term care such as a nursing home or certain in-home care under specific waiver programs. Assisted living facilities and independent living facilities are not covered. In addition, Medicaid only covers very basic needs. It may not cover things such as a private room, clothing, dentistry, and other things that impact your quality of life. Careful Medicaid preparations with a Baltimore Medicaid planning lawyer can help ensure that you have the resources available to make your life as comfortable as possible in your later years.

About Medicaid Planning in Maryland

For those with lesser means, they immediately qualify for Medicaid. Long-term care poses the greatest risk for those in the middle class – they lack the resources to pay for the care they need, but don’t yet qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Medicare will not cover your costs for long-term care as you age, but Medicaid can. Determining your eligibility for Medicaid is a critical part of long-term care planning. Your eligibility will depend on your financial need. Unfortunately, many seniors feel like they are forced to exhaust the wealth they spent their lives building in order to get any help from Medicaid. However, there are numerous ways to get financial assistance for your long-term care without depleting your assets in the process.

Each state has its own rules regarding eligibility for Medicaid. In Maryland, your assets may be limited to $2,000 and your monthly income limited to the cost of nursing home care in order to qualify for Medicaid. That said, careful planning can help you qualify for Medicaid to ensure that you are able to get the care you need. 

In addition, income amounts will be determined by whether you are single, married, and if married, whether both spouses are applying for Medicaid. You should also be aware that “income” and “assets” are broadly defined to include many sources of income and assets you might not be aware of. 

Why You Need a Baltimore Medicaid Planning Lawyer

Medicaid planning is a complex area of the law. If not done correctly, any efforts you make could not only be fruitless but could even jeopardize your ability to qualify. Hiring an attorney is not necessary, but it is an investment in your future. A Medicaid planning attorney with deep experience and extensive knowledge about this area of the law will be able to avoid the pitfalls while developing an effective health care plan to ensure your quality of life in your later years. 

To reiterate, each state has its own rules pertaining to Medicaid eligibility. As a result, you need a Medicaid planning attorney who knows how the Medicaid process works in Maryland. They will know how to structure your assets so that you can qualify as well as how to submit your application, how to navigate the system, and what documentation you will need to provide. In addition to helping your plan, they can handle your application from start to finish, giving you the peace of mind that your health care needs will be met. 

Finally, working with a Baltimore Medicaid planning lawyer could save you a significant amount of money. While there is an up-front cost with legal fees, careful Medicaid planning could ultimately save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Documents Your Baltimore Medicaid Planning Lawyer Requires

To make the most of your first meeting with your attorney, you should be prepared to gather information regarding your finances and other assets. Keep in mind that your spouse’s income and assets may also be considered, even if they do not intend to apply for Medicaid. In general, you should consider bringing the following information with you: 

  • Bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement accounts
  • Details regarding all sources of income
  • Copies of any life insurance policies
  • Any estate planning documents already in place
  • Titles to any real estate you own
  • Vehicle information and an inventory of any other significant assets
  • Housing and utility expense
  • Health insurance information
  • VA documents
  • List of debts
  • Proof of citizenship
  • List of immediate family members

If you can’t locate all of these documents prior to your meeting, you should at least prepare a fairly exhaustive inventory. The more information you can provide your Baltimore Medicaid planning lawyer, the sooner your attorney can begin developing your plan. Your attorney can also partner with your financial advisor, accountant, or estate planning attorney to make sure your Medicaid plan is consistent with any other long-term plans you may have. 

We Help You Devise Medicaid Strategies 

There are many ways that our legal team can help ensure that you qualify for Medicaid. Generally speaking, this involves restructuring your assets. An experienced Baltimore Medicaid planning lawyer can offer several creative solutions, but here are some common strategies: 

  • Placing assets in a trust
  • Gifting assets to family members, loved ones, or charitable causes
  • Transferring real estate to family members 

However, you should be aware that Medicaid will review any transfers when you apply for benefits within the last five years. For each transfer of up to $9,673, Medicaid will impose a one-month penalty period before it will begin providing benefits. As a result, Medicaid planning should be done years in advance to ensure that those benefits are available to you when you need them most.

Medicaid Planning for Veterans

If you are a veteran, you may think that you don’t need to worry about Medicaid coverage. While there are benefits available to veterans that can help defray the cost of long-term care, these benefits will not cover the entire cost. The relationship between VA benefits and Medicaid is complex, and choosing one over the other may result in losing important benefits or having to pay significant expenses out of pocket. 

Contact a Baltimore Medicaid Planning Lawyer Today 

Emmett B. Irwin can walk you through your options for Medicaid planning in Maryland and assist in the preparation of any trusts and other ways to keep your assets without preventing you from qualifying for Medicaid. Contact us today to learn more and get started. We work with clients throughout Maryland and surrounding states.