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Medicaid planning and elder law refer to long term planning strategies for long term care, obtaining eligibility for government benefits, and protecting your assets while qualifying for these benefits.
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Medicaid Planning In Texas
Medicaid Planning is a joint federal-state program that provides medical assistance to an array of individuals, particularly low-income individuals (i.e., 65 years or older), disabled, or blind. Medicaid is the largest resort for people who have no other way to afford their long-term care. Although Medicaid planning varies from state to state, federal minimum guidelines and standards must be observed.
The Texas Medicaid program is an unique blend of federally-mandated minimum coverage and state-determined optional coverage. The two help pay for medical care and supportive services for eligible individuals.
When To Start Planning
Unfortunately, many nursing home residents and elder care patients exhaust their assets on long-term care. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The best time to plan for the possibility of a nursing home is when you’re healthy. By doing so, you may be able to pay for long-term care and secure your assets for loved ones. How? Through Medicaid planning. You worked all your life to pay off your mortgage and protect your family. You expected to live off of the comfort of your savings. Suddenly, the unexpected happens—you suffer a heart attack at the age of 70 and must spend your life in a nursing home. What will happen to your savings?
Eligibility for nursing home Medicaid in Texas depends on the following five criteria:
1. U.S. citizen and Texas resident;
2. Medical need for nursing home care;
3. Find a facility with Medicaid bed availability;
4. Gross income from any and all sources are less than $2,163/mo for 2014. If there is an at home spouse that is well, that spouse can keep their income, and/or the at home spouse with little or no income can keep up to $2,931/mo. If the nursing home candidate has more income per month than this limit, it may still be possible to execute a Miller’s Trust;
5. Have countable resources less than $2,000. The at home spouse can keep half of countable resources, up to $117,240 in 2014 and a minimum of $223,448. So a couple with $25,000 in savings can transfer $23,000 to the at home spouse and qualify. The home is not counted, but Federal recover law may reach for the house as reimbursement (call for questions, there are exceptions.)
Medicaid Managed Care in Texas
Many Medicaid recipients in Texas have services through a managed care system. The State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) Managed Care is Texas’ Medicaid managed care program for people over 65 with disabilities. STAR picks a medical plan from a list of plans in the area and chooses a primary physician to work under that plan.
In Texas, long-term care is expensive, whether in a nursing home, care facility, or home health care. Nursing homes cost an average of $4,000 per year in Texas, so some people cannot afford to pay their own expenses. For Texans needing reasonable, long-term care, Medicaid is the best source of funding. Medicaid provides health insurance for about 14 percent of Texans. The Texas Medicaid program can work best for qualified individuals. It helps you when you need it. However, the program is not for everyone and it wasn’t designed to be.
Find out if you qualify today!