Medicaid Planning Attorneys in Conway, Arkansas Getting Clients the Financial Assistance They Need
Medical and long-term care costs in America are some of the highest in the world, and people here often worry about how they will be able to pay the bills if they need care. Many people cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars a month from their hard-earned life savings to provide long-term care for themselves or someone they love
Medicaid is a state and federal government program to help those with few assets and low income in paying their medical and long-term care bills. Even if you think you exceed the income and asset limit, there are ways that a skilled lawyer can help you or your loved one qualify.
Qualifying for Medicaid, however, is only part of the process. It is also important to plan ahead to maximize eligibility and minimize the loss of assets, now or in the future. Each state has limits on income and assets that must be met in order for a person to qualify for Medicaid. If a person exceeds these limits, there are ways to reduce the assets and income legally, to achieve eligibility, and one of our skilled Conway elder law attorneys can assist with that process.
Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to get started on the Medicaid planning and application process.
What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?
Medicare is an insurance program available to those age 65 and over, regardless of income, as well as to certain disabled younger people and people on dialysis. It covers medical care and requires the payment of small deductibles and small monthly premiums for non-hospital treatment. Medicare is solely administered by the federal government and is, therefore, the same in all states. U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. who have worked here for 10 years, or have a spouse who meets those criteria, are eligible for Medicare if they are 65 or older or younger and are disabled or on kidney dialysis. There is no income or asset limit to be eligible for Medicare.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is an entitlement program that is both federal and state-funded and that can differ from state to state in its requirements. The 2022 income limits in Arkansas are approximately $2,523 / month (some exclusions apply) per person. The asset limits are $2000 for a single person and $3000 for a married couple. In Arkansas, Medicaid is available for those who qualify to pay for nursing home care, home, and community-based services, and services for aged blind, and disabled people.
What if I or My Loved Ones Exceed the Income or Asset Limits But Still Cannot Afford Care?
There are many strategies available to reduce income and assets to meet Medicaid eligibility requirements. Some programs available in Arkansas to those seeking Medicaid eligibility include Medically Needy Pathway (an Arkansas spend-down program), Qualified Income Trusts (also called Miller Income Trusts), general asset spend-downs, and other Medicaid planning tools. All of these programs are complex and difficult to understand, but a skilled Medicaid planning attorney can help you to untangle the process and choose the tools that will work best for your particular circumstances. Do not look at the income and asset limits and assume that there is no way for you or your loved one to qualify. Our Medicaid planning attorneys have years of experience helping people like you meet the requirements to get the assistance they and their loved ones need.
Are There Any Medicaid Programs Specific to Arkansas?
The American Council on Aging lists these Medicaid programs as specific to Arkansas:
- Independent Choices (IC) Program – This program is a self-directed option for elderly and disabled program participants of AR Choices in Homecare and Medicaid Personal Care. Participants are given a monthly cash allowance to use for home modifications, assistive technologies, personal care assistance, and personal emergency response systems.
- AR Choices in Homecare Waiver – This program provides supportive services for seniors and physically disabled individuals to allow them to continue living independently. Program participants are allowed to hire the home care providers that they choose.
- Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) – This program does not cover the cost of room and board but covers personal service costs, as well as medication oversight, non-medical transportation, and nursing evaluations, for example.
- Medicaid Personal Care – “Personal care” is defined as the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and undressing, grooming, and eating. This assistance may be available whether the participant lives at home or in an assisted-living facility
- Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) – This program combines the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid for those who qualify.
Can Medicaid Take My Family Home After I Pass Away?
Your house is not counted among your assets when you apply for Medicaid in Arkansas, but it could be seized to pay back some of the aid you received once you pass away. In fact, there is a whole program called the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) that seeks to seize the assets of a deceased person in order to recover some of the costs Medicaid covered during the person’s life. Luckily, you can protect your house from MERP by preparing a beneficiary deed. What a beneficiary deed does is place your home into a “life estate,” which means that you only own it as long as you are alive, and it passes to your beneficiary or beneficiaries at the moment of your death. In this way, it can be protected from being seized by MERP. An additional advantage of a beneficiary deed is that it allows the property to pass to the beneficiary without having to go through probate.
Hiring an experienced Medicaid planning attorney can help to ensure that all of the documents and processes necessary to both make you or your loved one eligible for Medicaid and protect your estate after you pass are done correctly, legally, and will stand up in court if necessary. The Medicaid planning lawyers at our elder law firm have the experience, the education, and the professionalism to put together a Medicaid plan that will help you and your loved ones get the care they need without spending everything you have worked so hard to earn and to pass on to your family. Call Dudeck Law Firm’s Conway office today at 501-327-3527 to get started.