December 30th, 2011
Recent changes to New York State Medicaid laws have expanded the definition of an “estate” for Medicaid estate recovery purposes.
Upon the death of a Medicaid recipient, Medicaid can recover expenses paid on behalf of the recipient from his or her estate, under certain circumstances. Before the new regulations were put into place, Medicaid limited its claims to the decedent’s probate estate, which generally included only those assets that passed through a will or intestacy. Now, with the expansion of the definition of estate, Medicaid is also taking into consideration assets outside of the probate estate, including jointly held real or personal property, retained life estates and interests in trusts. Therefore, assets that were previously protected from a Medicaid claim may now be at risk.
Despite the changes in the law, you can still effectively plan for your future long-term care needs and preserve some, if not all, of your assets. Now, more than ever, it’s important to review your current plan with an Elder Law attorney to be sure that you are in the best possible position to preserve your life’s savings and protect your property. Call the Elder Law attorneys at Lamson & Cutner at (212) 447-8690, to schedule a consultation.
December 21st, 2011
We’ve been asked several times whether or not a Medicaid applicant can have a primary (and in many instances secondary) health insurance plan, and, if so, if he or she must give up such plans once accepted to the Medicaid program. People often believe that their medical insurance coverage precludes them from becoming Medicaid eligible, and are worried that they may lose their current benefits by becoming a Medicaid recipient.
Having medical insurance, either through Medicare or any other private plan (such as GHI or Blue Cross Blue Shield), does not prevent an individual from becoming Medicaid eligible. Additionally, if an individual is accepted to the Medicaid program, he or she will not be forced to give up any existing health insurance plans.
Since medical insurance does not pay for the catastrophic cost of long term care, it is often necessary for an individual to access Medicaid for assistance with paying for home care or nursing home care, even if he or she has ample health insurance.
When it comes to medical coverage, Medicaid is the “payor of last resort,” so a patient’s primary and secondary insurance policies will be accessed before Medicaid contributes. In fact, Medicaid advises that a Medicaid recipient maintain all insurance policies he or she currently has, and even offers incentives such as deducting the cost of the premiums from the recipient’s monthly income calculation or paying the premiums under certain situations. Also, it is advisable that current health insurance be maintained so that the Medicaid recipient can continue to see his or her doctors and specialists, even if they don’t accept Medicaid.
The fact that you have Medicare or a supplemental health insurance plan should not keep you from accessing Medicaid benefits if you need assistance with paying for long-term care. Elder law attorneys can advise you on how to get the most benefits available to you, without giving up any insurance you already have.