Occasionally, we hear from clients or from others who have some objections to the idea of Medicaid planning in the context of paying for nursing home care. MassHealth is the Medicaid Program in Massachusetts. These objections are understandable to a degree—Medicaid planning does sometimes involve strategically eliminating assets so you can qualify for Medicaid and get coverage for your long-term care.
However, critics of Medicaid planning tend to provide their criticisms with their own agenda or interests. For most average people, Medicaid planning is a very important part of estate planning to ensure they’re actually able to afford nursing home care when they need it. It is also done to preserve resources for a spouse that is not in a nursing home – often referred to as the “community spouse.”
Some of the most common criticisms you’ll hear about Medicaid planning are as follows:
- “Medicaid is only for the poor and disadvantaged, and anyone who has enough money to hire lawyers to shelter their assets shouldn’t be considered for Medicaid eligibility.”
- “Medicaid planning is actually a form of elder abuse. There are many elders in nursing homes who don’t have the capacity to engage in Medicaid planning, and their children make the choice to perform this planning for them, even though there’s a conflict of interest there. They’re just trying to get a hold of their parents’ assets.”
- “Medicaid planning is a great way to discourage personal responsibility.”
- “Medicaid planning could bankrupt the Medicaid system if there aren’t checks on it.”
You get the idea. These kinds of criticisms make sense at first, but don’t really hold up to closer inspection.
Think of it this way—most people who go through Medicaid planning have spent their entire lives paying into the system, and suddenly they’re facing a scenario where they have to spend their entire savings on long-term care. Why is that fair? Why shouldn’t they take anything out after paying in their entire lives, and why should they have to bankrupt themselves to get medical care?
Not only do these long-term care costs potentially compromise a person’s ability to leave anything behind to his or her spouse and other family, but it also runs the risk of completely depleting their savings during their lifetime. The fact is that healthcare costs are exorbitant in the United States, and Medicaid planning is one of the few strategies available for some people to be able to realistically afford nursing home care for an extended period of time. In a sense, Medicaid planning is not only justifiable, but also absolutely necessary to a person’s ability to survive without completely bankrupting themselves.
Get Medicaid Planning Assistance with Elder Law Attorney
If you’re interested in learning more about what Medicaid planning entails and the steps you can take to ensure you will qualify for Medicaid for your long-term care, we encourage you to contact an experienced elder law attorney at Baker Law Group, P.C. with any questions you have for our legal team.