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Medicaid planning: What you need to know about eligibility in Louisiana

The cost of long-term care is high and will likely only get higher as Baby Boomers age. Even if you have saved a significant nest egg for retirement, your assets could quickly be drained by the costs of elder care.

Medicaid can be very helpful in defraying the cost of nursing home care or assisted living, but qualifying for Medicaid can be complicated.

Requirements for Medicaid Eligibility

The federal government establishes rules associated with Medicaid, but Louisiana and all other states also have specific requirements that they set on their own. In fact, there are over a million people in Louisiana who receive health care coverage through Medicaid.

To qualify, you need to show that your income and assets do not exceed the limits for Medicaid, and there are many documents you need to provide to the state in order to qualify. Additionally, because of the Medicaid look-back period, it is important to start your Medicaid planning at least five years before you are admitted to a nursing home.

Strategies for Ensuring Medicaid Eligibility

There are strategies for maintaining Medicaid eligibility while avoiding unnecessarily spending down assets. For example, an integrated strategy for ensuring Medicaid eligibility may include:

  • Trusts
  • Insurance policies
  • A gifting schedule
  • Transfer of assets to family members
  • Veterans benefits
  • Social Security benefits

Before implementing any of these tools in your estate plan, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced elder law attorney.

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