The Pros and Cons of Planning for Florida Medicaid Early


Are you a Florida senior approaching retirement? Or are you a Florida senior already in your later years? Have you started to think about planning for your possible long-term care needs? Are you planning to rely on your Medicare coverage for everything you need for long-term care? While most Florida seniors believe that Medicare and the associated supplemental insurances will pay for long-term care costs, this is most often not the case.

We would like to share with you in this blog information regarding long-term care planning, which is one of the biggest concerns that Florida seniors may face. If you do not have thorough pre-planning, you may risk not only having a lifetime of savings lost to pay for health care but undoing any legacy you have created through your Florida estate plan. It is important that you and your loved ones consider meeting with an experienced Florida elder law attorney as soon as possible to make sure you are set for the possible need for long-term care in the future.

In thinking about long-term care, it is important for you to know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare covers most Florida residents over age 65, and some disabled residents who are younger. Medicare is primarily a health insurance program, not a long-term care solution. Medicare will cover up to 100 days of nursing home care if you need it, but it should be considered a temporary solution. It is important to know that Medicare is an acute payor program and will not be able to cover an extended, or custodial, need for care at home or in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

If you cannot use Medicare, is it possible to use Medicaid for long-term care? Should you just hope you never need long-term care? Or should you plan now to meet with a Florida Medicaid planning attorney who can help you through the process of qualifying and applying for Medicaid? By choosing to hope you never need long-term care, you may not be able to avoid impoverishment and the loss of your assets and the legacy you want for your family due to long-term care costs. However, you may be eligible for Medicaid, and the qualifications depend on your health, income, and assets. A Florida Medicaid planning attorney can help you through the process of qualifying and applying for Medicaid.

It is important to meet with a Florida Medicaid planning attorney as soon as possible. This is because qualification often involves a five year, or sixty month, lookback period where your assets and ability to pay privately for care will be evaluated by the Medicaid Office. With assistance from your experienced Florida elder law attorney and by preparing for the future more than five years ahead of when you need nursing home care, you may be able to protect your life savings from being totally used up by nursing home costs. Keep in mind, though, that you can seek long-term care planning help in a crisis situation, or when care is needed, but your options may be reduced.

Another option you may think you have is planning to rely on your family when you need help. Unfortunately, this may not be a reality for many of Florida’s seniors. Your children may live in another state, be preoccupied with raising your grandchildren at the time you need the most hands-on care, or they are working longer and cannot afford to retire early enough to help you day to day. They may also not be able to help you by contributing to the cost of care you need.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Our Stuart estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our office to learn more.