Medicaid Planning for Florida

How a Boca Raton Elder Law Attorney Can Help

Medicaid is a government program that pays for medical expenses for certain individuals who meet the eligibility criteria. Unlike Medicare, the recipient must prove that she or he has limited assets and income by which to pay for medical services. For this reason, many Florida residents believe they do not qualify for Medicaid and yet lack the resources to pay the excessive costs of long-term care.

Walser Law Firm has successfully dealt with this catch-22 for more than 30 years. Our Palm Beach Gardens Medicaid attorneys assist Florida residents in creating a viable plan to pay for long-term care without jeopardizing their financial security. Through a variety of long-term care and estate planning tools, we are often able to legally qualify our clients for Medicaid to pay the extraordinary costs associated with life-long medical treatment.

Medicaid Eligibility in Florida

Medicaid is a Florida program that pays medical expenses and nursing services for low-income families. The federal government then reimburses the state for 50 to 80 percent of payments made under the Medicaid program. To qualify for Florida Medicaid, you must pass both the income and the asset tests.

Income Test to Qualify for Medicaid

Florida is an Income Cap state, which disqualifies a person whose income exceeds the statutory amount — approximately $2,000 per month gross. The income test bases calculations on the applicant’s income, not including the spouse’s income, before taxes and deductions. Fortunately, you may still qualify even if your income exceeds the minimum allowable amount.

For example, our attorneys explore use of the Qualified Income Trust (QIT) — also called a Miller Trust — that allows you to qualify for Medicaid and pay costs not covered under the program. Only the income you receive outside the QIT is counted toward Medicaid eligibility; you contribute the remainder of your income above the statutory amount to the QIT. The QIT funds may be used to pay amounts attributed to patient responsibility that Medicaid does not cover.

Asset Test for Medicaid Eligibility

Florida sets the very low threshold of $2,000 in countable assets for an applicant to qualify for Medicaid. The key term here is “countable assets.” You may still own substantial excluded assets, including:

  • Homestead: Your home is not counted as long as your spouse or dependents continue to live there or if you plan to return home in the future.
  • Vehicle: One car or truck is excluded, regardless of its age, plus one more vehicle that is at least seven years old and is not classified as luxury, antique or custom.
  • Retirement savings: Properly structured retirement accounts are excluded from the asset test, but distributions may be counted toward the income test.
  • Annuities: You can place your assets in annuities that meet Medicaid specifications that remove them from the asset test calculations.
  • Businesses: Most income-generating businesses are considered excludable from the asset test, a rule that recognizes that business operations permit a patient to pay for her or his health care.
  • Pre-paid burial and funeral funds: You can pay in advance for burial and funeral expenses under an irrevocable contract or through deposits in a special burial bank account.

Unfortunately, because of the rapidly increasing costs of health care, many families who do not qualify for Medicaid may not be able to afford to pay for needed services otherwise. Walser Law Firm helps you maintain Medicaid eligibility in Florida to protect your future and your family.

Qualify for Florida Medicaid to Pay for Nursing Home Services

Walser Law Firm advises on Medicaid eligibility and planning. Call our Boca Raton main office or our Palm Beach Gardens office at 561.750.1040 or send us an email to schedule a consultation with our estate and care planning attorneys.

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