In order to afford an extended stay in a nursing home, many people in New York City will have to qualify for Medicaid. Otherwise, they will have no way of paying for their care.
The problem is that Medicaid is a government program for those of limited means. This means before a New Yorker can go on the program, they have to have very little income and property.
In other words, getting proper care in your old age could mean depleting your entire savings, including what you would have left to your loved ones.
In most states, penalties apply if a person chooses to get around this by giving away their wealth to their relatives. Planned gifting often can only work if you start doing it long before you need a nursing home.
On this note, New Yorkers should be aware of some potential upcoming changes in the state’s look-back period. These rules will impose a look-back period when a person wants to qualify for Medicaid in order to receive in-home nursing care. Right now, they are scheduled to arrive in 2024.
Common Medicaid planning strategies
There are some other legal strategies a New Yorker may be able to use, alone or in combination, to qualify for Medicaid and still keep some control over some over the savings they have worked hard to earn.
For example, many people choose to use annuities as part of their Medicaid planning strategy.
There are certain expenses that do not put a person at risk of a penalty. For example, making one’s home handicapped accessible or hiring a person, even a relative, to perform certain services.
Medicaid planning is a complicated area of the law, and making a mistake can be costly. A New Yorker interested in Medicaid planning should make sure they understand all of their legal options. They should also understand which ones might be best for their situation.