Medicaid is a government benefit available to low income and disabled individuals for the cost of their health care. There is no age limit for Medicaid as it is with Medicare. However, Medicaid basically caters to people who can’t afford the cost of healthcare or long-term care.
Medicaid eligibility in Buffalo
The following persons can apply for Medicaid in Buffalo
- Adults earning below $884 monthly and having liquid assets worth less than $15,900
- An individual with huge medical bills
- Pregnant women
- Single individuals
- Adult Buffalo residents
- Children below 18
- Someone having blindness or other disability
- Parents and caretakers
- Legal aliens.
Most importantly, you would be eligible to apply for Medicaid if you earn below $884 monthly and have liquid assets worth less than $15,900.
If it’s a couple whereby both spouses are applying for Medicaid, their collective income and asset limits are $1,300 per month and $23,400 respectively.
Knowing what Medicaid counts as income
To determine Medicaid eligibility, all funds and valuables that a person receives from any source is counted as their income. It could be salary earnings or wages, pension, social security disability income, payment from annuities, alimony, social security income, gifts, and retirement funds. Note that Covid-19 stimulus funds do not count as income for purpose of Medicaid eligibility.
When one spouse is applying for Medicaid, the other partner’s income would not be counted – unless it is the Regular Medicaid for the blind, aged, and disabled.
If a spouse is applying for the Institutional Medicaid or Medicaid Waivers, this spouse can transfer up to $3,259.50 of their income to the healthy spouse (also called a community spouse). This is done to bring the applicant’s asset or income below the limit so that they will qualify for Medicaid. However, if the healthy spouse already has monthly income, the applicant spouse can only transfer an amount that brings the healthy spouse’s income to $3,259.50 monthly.
This action of transferring (gifting) between spouses is known as Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMNA). The action helps to prevent the healthy spouse from suffering in penury.
What if you earn above the Medicaid asset limit but wish to qualify for Medicaid?
Does it mean that if you earn above $884 or have assets above $23,400, you would have to watch it get exhausted settling your long term care costs? Not so!
Through proper planning, you can make yourself eligible for Medicaid even though you have a substantial net worth.
How do you do it? By creating a Medicaid asset protection trust!
Using Medicaid Asset Protection Trust to qualify for Medicaid in Buffalo
A Medicaid asset protection trust is an estate document used to keep away assets so that one can become eligible for Medicaid. It’s a great strategy adopted by elder law attorneys in Buffalo to protect clients’ assets from being eaten up by their long term care costs.
When to create a Medicaid asset protection trust in order to be eligible for Medicaid
There is a look back period of 5 years when you apply for Medicaid. They will look at your financial history during the last 5 years. If you are discovered to have made transfers (gifts) during that time window, you will be disqualified from Medicaid benefits for some time.
Notably, retitling assets into a trust is regarded as gifting the trust. That is why you have to execute and fund your Medicaid asset protection trust at least 5 years before applying for Medicaid in Buffalo.
Differences between Medicaid and Medicare
Many people mistake Medicaid for Medicare. These are actually two different things for different purposes. They also have different eligibility requirements.
So let us see the distinguishing features between these two public health care benefits.
- Age: While only seniors of at least 65 years can apply for Medicare, any adult or minor may be eligible for Medicaid.
- Structure: Medicaid is an insurance program wherein the people who are covered must have paid premiums into. But Medicaid is an assistance program that comes freely.
- Coverage: Medicaid covers people of all ages who are below a certain asset and income limit. Medicare covers people over 65 year of age, no matter how wealthy they are.
- Authority: Medicaid is run by states and local governments within federal guidelines. But Medicare is entirely run at the federal level.
Get professional help with Medicaid planning
Our estate planning and elder law attorneys are ready to help you plan towards Medicaid in Buffalo. We can assist with the application or help you become eligible as the case may be. Call us