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How does Medicaid factor into long-term care planning?

Many people may be familiar with Medicaid, a program operated by the state and federal governments to provide medical coverage for people who meet certain income and health-related qualifications. In addition to providing basic medical coverage, Medicaid benefits can also be used to cover the cost of long-term care.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Medicaid can be used to cover long-term care provided in nursing home or within a person's own residence. This may come as a relief to those who understand just how costly long-term care can be -- especially since many people who require this care are on a fixed income.

Knowing that the government has certain requirements for individuals to receive Medicaid, it makes sense that certain people won't qualify for benefits. Even when a person could certainly benefit from the financial support provided by Medicaid, it will not be given to those who have too high of an income or too many assets on hand. In other words, many people could be left in a situation where they have to worry about long-term care depleting assets very quickly.

Thankfully, however, there is a solution to help individuals meet the financial burden created by long-term care needs. Through effective planning, such as creating trusts and implementing other forms of asset protection, individuals can ensure that they can receive long-term care without worrying about leaving an estate without any assets.

Navigating the complexities of Medicaid law and long-term care can be challenging. Keeping this in mind, it may be best to seek the assistance of an estate planning attorney to find out more about specific solutions. This way, individuals and their loved ones can be assured that appropriate medical care will be available if or when the time comes.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "State Medicaid Programs," accessed June 23, 2014

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