It’s a harsh reality, but age isn’t exactly kind to anybody. Whether you want to try to “age in place” in your own home or you prefer the idea of moving into assisted living or nursing care after a certain point, it takes some planning to meet those goals – and that usually involves some form of Medicaid (MassHealth) planning.
Medicaid planning is necessary because long-term care is very expensive and seldom covered fully by insurance or Medicare. Done correctly, Medicaid planning can help make sure that your assets aren’t entirely depleted (so that you can leave something behind for your heirs). It can also protect a healthy spouse from losing their home or all their financial resources when a disabled spouse has to enter a nursing facility.
Changes (not for the better) are coming
Unfortunately, Medicaid planning is about to get more complicated thanks to changes that are coming soon. The events of the past few years caused the Medicaid rolls to swell in every state – and the states have been prohibited by Congress as part of emergency measures to terminate coverage for most people. However, that barrier is now lifted and the states will gradually be making redeterminations of eligibility that are expected to end coverage for millions.
In Massachusetts, that process is expected to begin in June – and experts say that the Medicaid agencies are ill-equipped to handle the task due to staffing issues. The influx of new employees, retirees being pressed into service and temporary or contract workers on cases means that many people could incorrectly have their coverage dropped or encounter unnecessary problems getting enrolled.
That means that it will be more important than ever for people who need Medicaid (MassHealth) planning to get experienced legal guidance. A mistake on an application right now could create hurdles that could delay much-needed care or cost you and your loved one precious assets. It’s never too late to engage in Medicaid planning, even if you’re in a crisis. Only the strategy needs to be changed.