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Goals of Medicaid planning and how to get started

Even if you don't qualify for Medicaid right now, the right approach to planning could put you in line to receive benefits in the future.

The goals of Medicaid planning can differ from one person to the next, but typically include some or all of the following:

  • Provide for long-term care: The primary purpose of the Medicaid program is to provide care to individuals, such as those with a disability, who can't care for themselves.
  • Preserve assets: For example, if your child receives Medicaid benefits and you're concerned that leaving them an inheritance will affect this, proper planning is a must. Using a special needs trust, as opposed to directly leaving money to your loved one, can help protect their benefits.
  • Receive the proper health care benefits: The public health care system doesn't suit the needs of everyone. Through Medicaid planning, you can make decisions that allow you to receive the highest quality care in the future.
  • Combine Medicaid planning with estate planning, asset protection and taxation strategies: Medicaid planning will impact your life in many ways, such as how you plan your estate and the manner in which you protect assets.

If you or a loved one is interested in applying for Medicaid now or in the future, matters of eligibility are sure to move to the forefront. Medicaid planning requires an eligibility analysis, with a focus on the following details:

  • Number and value of exempt assets
  • Number and value of non-exempt assets
  • Income
  • Spouse's assets and income, if married
  • Past transfer of assets, including the exact date and amount

It's important to note that even if you're not eligible for Medicaid today, you can implement a strategy for receiving benefits later in life. It will take some changes to your financial approach, such as moving around assets in the appropriate manner, but doing so could eventually make you eligible for benefits.

Understanding the overall goals of Medicaid planning, as well as what you personally want to accomplish, can put you on the right track to success. Once you begin to receive benefits, you'll know exactly what you can and can't do if you want to continue down this path for the rest of your life.

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