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Medicaid and Medicare are both federal health insurance programs, but there are important differences.
While Medicare provides health insurance for people age 65 or older, it does not pay for extended care in a skilled nursing facility or other long-term care. These costs can be covered by Medicaid, but in order to qualify, a person’s income and assets must fall below a certain level.
If you are eligible, Medicaid covers:
- Physician’s services
- Hospital care
- Long-term care either in your home or a skilled nursing facility
- Other reasonable and necessary services
If assets are too high, a patient may have to enter a nursing home on a private payment basis and “spend down” to the Medicaid eligibility level before receiving coverage. Although the individual’s home is excluded from the assets calculations, Medicaid can bill the estate for care after the patient passes away. Medicaid has a “look-back” period, during which certain gifts affect eligibility, preventing a person from simply giving his or her property to his or her children before entering a nursing home.
Fortunately, you don’t need to exhaust all your assets to meet the Medicaid “spend down” requirements.
The estate planning attorneys at Littman Krooks can employ different strategies that protect certain assets while ensuring that you are able to take advantage of Medicaid eligibility to pay for long-term care.
Leaders in Elder Law
Littman Krooks LLP combines extensive legal knowledge and expertise with individual attention to your needs. Over 25 years, we have brought astute, honest counsel and strong, thorough representation to every one of our clients.
Littman Krooks is one of two law firms in New York State and the only firm in New York City or Westchester County with three Certified Elder Law Attorneys® (CELAs); Bernard A. Krooks, Amy C. O’Hara, and Elizabeth Valentin. The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) is the only organization approved by the American Bar Association to offer certification in the area of elder law, one of the fastest growing fields in the legal profession.