As you plan for Medicaid, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. Once you understand the rules, the enrollment process will go by without a hitch.
Are you finally ready to plan for Medicaid? Too many adults assume the government will automatically qualify and enroll them in the program once they hit a certain age. However, this isn’t true. It’s up to you to fill out the application as soon as you meet the enrollment requirements. And for the average person, the process isn’t always easy.
Here are some of the top questions you may have as you navigate the complicated Medicaid system:
Who Can Apply for Medicaid?
While most people assume only seniors can enroll in Medicaid, that’s not always the case. There are several reasons a person can join the program. To be eligible, an applicant must:
- Be 65 or older
- Have a disability recognized by SSI
- Be legally blind
- Be pregnant
- Be a child, or caregiver of said child, living below the federal poverty level
- Be a U.S. citizen with a Social Security number
The financial requirements to join Medicaid vary from state to state. If you make too much money or have too many valuable assets, the government may deny you coverage. And without this affordable health insurance, you may end up paying out of pocket for all your medical expenses.
How Do You Enroll in the Program?
Once you determine you qualify for Medicaid, you need to enroll in the program. As of March 2020, there were 64,094,741 citizens enrolled. Every senior over 65 who meets their state’s income criteria can get coverage. But the government won’t necessarily extend it to you automatically. In most cases, states only enroll individuals receiving SSI disability benefits. If you are not on disability, you’ll want to find a professional who can lead you through the enrollment process.
After you fill out and submit all the paperwork, you may wait weeks or months to get a response. The state must verify all the information you provide. They will review your income, residency, and health conditions to make sure you qualify for coverage. Depending on the results, they will either approve or deny your application.
What Happens to Your Assets?
You must show a financial need to get Medicaid health coverage. While most seniors live on a fixed income, they may have certain assets that prevent them from being eligible. No, you don’t have to sell all of your assets to qualify. You may be able to transfer some of them to your spouse without penalty. You can also choose to pass money to your children or other family members.
Financial experts call this practice sheltering assets. Even though your assets still exist, other people now have control over them. They will no longer count towards your income. This method will help you become eligible for Medicaid benefits while also protecting your assets.
It’s Never too Early to Start Thinking About Medicaid
As you grow older, will you have enough cash on hand to pay for any medical bills that may arise? Although it’s tough to acknowledge, most seniors will need long-term care at some point. Unless you want to foot the bill yourself, you should start planning for Medicaid.
The experts at Incompass Tax, Estate & Business Solutions know all the ins and outs of Medicaid eligibility. Our team will explain the enrollment process, and we’ll even shelter your assets or set up trusts to ensure you qualify. Schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you plan for Medicaid.