5. It is Legal to Manipulate Your Finances to Qualify for Medicaid
Qualification for Medicaid varies from state to state.
However, the basics of qualification are fairly universal, you generally qualify for Medicaid when you have run through your assets and have income that is somewhere around less than $2,200 a month. (It is also important to note that neither the value of your home nor your home equity count for qualification.)
To accelerate Medicaid qualification, some retirees work with legal and financial specialists to gift money to family members, purchase annuities, put money into different kinds of trusts and do various other tricks to shield assets from being part of the Medicaid calculations.
Sometimes these strategies need to be deployed years and years ahead of applying for the Medicaid program.
6. Medicaid Planning is a Whole Mini Industry
There are a cadre of lawyers, consultants and advisors who help retirees manipulate their finances so that they can qualify for Medicaid and avoid spending their own money on assisted living or other long term care options.
7. Many Consider it Unethical to Manipulate Finances to Qualify for Medicaid
There is significant debate about whether or not it is ethical to manipulate your own finances to qualify for Medicaid sooner rather than later.
- Those against it say that manipulating finances in order to qualify for Medicaid is akin to fraud.
- Those in favor of say that it is no different from manipulating tax code to minimize payments to the government.
K. Gabriel Heiser is a lawyer and author of ebooks that outline Medicaid planning strategies. He is quoted in the New York Times saying that “he’s heard from colleagues over the years who wanted no part of this work. This confused him, he said in an interview this week, given that many of them handled estate planning for wealthier clients. There, they helped people avoid paying millions to the government, whereas Mr. Heiser’s work merely helps clients get the government to pay a few hundred thousand for care on their behalf.”