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Our Compassionate New York Elder Law Attorney Debunks Common Medicaid Myths 

According to recent studies, a senior citizen has about a 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care (LTC) that lasts until they die. However, obtaining this can be financially challenging for many Americans. If you don’t plan for long-term care needs in the future, you may find the enormously expensive price tag impossible to manage. For example, nursing home care averages $175,000–$225,000 a year if you live in New York. That’s why many seniors turn to Medicaid as a possible option. 

The dedicated elder law attorneys at Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C. know how important it is for seniors and their loved ones to understand the rules of Medicaid and clearly understand this government benefits program. So, our legal team outlines the most common Medicaid myths to help you make the best decision for your situation.

The Many Myths About New York Medicaid Benefits

No matter your age, planning for your health care needs is important—especially if you believe you’ll eventually need long-term care. The state offers residents two Medicaid programs that help those in need of financial support for LTC: 

  • Community Medicaid, which is usually provided to allow for an aide in the patient’s home.
  • Chronic Medicaid, where care is provided in a long-term facility such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. 

Unfortunately, the rules for Medicaid can be confusing, and the application for this program is complicated. At Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group P.C., we know there’s a lot of inaccurate information out there and want to debunk some of the myths for our clients. 

#1: Because You Receive Medicare, You’re Also Eligible to Receive Medicaid

This isn’t true. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that helps pay for health care for people 65 and older. If you earned a certain number of Social Security credits because you paid Social Security taxes throughout your working lifetime, they’re used to determine your eligibility for Medicare. 

Eligibility for Medicaid is determined in a different way. Medicaid is a “needs-based” program, and you must meet strict financial requirements to qualify for this assistance. So, just because you receive Medicare doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive Medicaid benefits. 

#2: Medicaid Can Take Away Your House 

Also not true. Your house is usually not considered an asset as long as the recipient of Medicaid, their spouse, or a child with disabilities is still living in it. Additionally, Medicaid can’t place a lien on your home. 

Only when the Medicaid recipient dies does the house fall under New York Medicaid Estate Recovery. The state wants its Medicaid benefits paid back, and any property that was exempt when you applied for benefits is now a possible target for “recovery”. So, a possible lien may also be placed on your home at that time. That’s why it’s critical to obtain legal counsel with a NY Medicaid planning attorney while you’re still alive to understand your options and how they affect your estate and your beneficiaries. 

#3: You Have Too Much Money in Cash and Assets to Qualify for Medicaid

This may not be true. Through proper planning with a skilled elder law attorney, you might be able to structure your assets to meet Medicaid’s qualifying requirements. This could mean you’ll need to “spend down” your assets or reduce their value. Many legal avenues are available for reducing the value of your estate to help make you eligible for Medicaid. 

Additionally, not all your assets must be sold or “spent” to qualify. These include:

Depending on your specific situation, Medicaid determines if these assets are exempt and might also consider your marital status and other factors associated with your living situation.  

The bottom line is that long-term care in a nursing home or assisted living facility is expensive and usually costs far more than the average American can afford. Many seniors want to apply for Medicaid to help with these costs, but many have heard these myths about Medicaid and choose not to apply. At Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group P.C., we strive to provide the right financial guidance and informative support to help you and your family make confident choices. 

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