Florida Medicaid planning is a critical issue for the aging population in Florida. Planning for long-term medical care costs is not as simple as it may sound due to the exponentially rising cost of long-term medical care for seniors. At an average cost range of at least $5,000 per month, life savings can be wiped out in a relatively short period of time.

What is Medicaid Planning?

  • Medicaid Pre-Planning prepares for long-term care. It applies to a nursing home, assisted living facility, or special home health care services. Pre-planning is essential to prevent financial devastation.
  • Crisis Medicaid Planning is when an individual enters a nursing home within a short period of time. Or they are already in a nursing facility and needs to qualify for Medicaid immediately.

In Florida, three categories are utilized for Medicaid eligibility:

  • Institutional or Nursing Home Medicaid
  • Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
  • Regular Medicaid

Institutional or Nursing Home Medicaid is available to all those who are eligible and in need of nursing home care.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) support long-term care services that are provided in the home, at assisted living residences that have a managed care system, adult foster care, or adult day care homes. This Florida program utilizes one agency that takes care of all these types of long-term care needs. 

In the past, Florida offered “HCBS Medicaid waivers” but those are no longer available. Like those waivers, this managed care program limits the number of participants to space that is available to them and, therefore, there could be a long waiting list for these services.

Regular Medicaid in Florida is described as for the “Aged and Disabled (MEDS-AD)” and is available to all those who are eligible for the services. With this program, benefits are either provided in a home or adult daycare setting. 

Why Is Medicaid Planning Important?

Medicaid planning usually involves considering the welfare of both senior partners. One spouse may be attempting to qualify for Medicaid so that the cost of long-term nursing care is paid, and the other partner may still be healthy and prefers independent living at home. Here are some facts about Medicaid eligibility that may be helpful:

  1. First, the rules and regulations for Medicaid eligibility vary from state to state. Just because one senior may be ineligible for Medicaid does not mean the other will also be ineligible.
  2. Every Medicaid application has to have solid documentation as to why the senior needs Medicaid and has proof that his assets are less than $2000 if single and $3,000 if married.

The eligibility rules for Medicaid can be complex and confusing, and that is why a lawyer is often called upon to help. All seniors who apply for Medicaid benefits to cover the costs of a nursing home are required to complete the Medicaid Long Term application, in addition to the Medicaid application. 

This form will require the senior to disclose all income and assets, and what has been given away over the past five years. For example, if a senior wants to become eligible for Medicaid, he or she simply cannot transfer all the assets to children or a relative. Medicaid does a thorough background check to ensure that no transfers have been made in the past five years.

Florida Medicaid planning requires time and effort. If you are considering applying for Medicaid long-term care benefits and want to make sure things are done the right way, consult with a knowledgeable Florida Medicaid attorney. A lawyer who knows the “ins and outs” of the Medicaid rules in Florida can be an immense help. Contact our office to schedule a Medicaid Planning consultation. 

For many families, the month of August signifies summer coming to an end and the kids going back return to school. Checklists are made for open house, school clothes shopping, school supplies, and physicals. One item that is often overlooked, but equally important, is making sure to have the proper paperwork on hand to receive the information you need about your student. 

Parents of teenagers that are entering their senior year of high school or their first year as a college freshman may have reached an important milestone over the last year — they turned 18. As their parent you become accustomed to being able to receive access to their protected records – medical, financial, and academic.

For parents, we get used to being their unequivocal voice in all matters regarding their education and medical needs. However, the moment your child turns 18, your access to these records stops without the proper paperwork. Legally adults, these high school seniors and collage freshman are now responsible for all decisions regarding their health. Furthermore, due to the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), parents have no legal right to their adult children’s medical records or other healthcare-related information.

Many parents do not realize they can no longer make medical decisions or gain access to these records for their adult students. We get asked all the time if it makes a difference that they still live at home, are still on their parents’ medical insurance or are still in high school.  the answer is the same in each these scenarios, not without the proper documentation. 

There are four essential documents that can be filled out between you and your adult student so that you have the authority to access their records and make the needed decisions for them should something unforeseen arise. 

  • Medical Surrogate – This document allows an individual to designate another person to be their agent in the event they’re no longer able to make decisions regarding their own healthcare.
  • Power of Attorney -. A document that can be used to give another person the authority to make healthcare decisions, make financial transactions, or sign legal documents on an individual’s behalf if they become mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to perform these activities on their own.
  • Living Will – A legal document that provides a list of advance directives in which you specify the medical treatments, procedures, and medications you do or don’t want to receive. If you’re ever incapacitated and can’t speak for yourself
  • HIPPA Release – A legal document that allows an individual’s health information to be used by or disclosed to a third party.

In a perfect world, you’ll never need to rely on these forms. However, it’s always better to be prepared if things don’t go as planned. Taking a few hours to obtain and complete these documents allows you to protect them like you always have by knowing you can easily step in if situations arise where you are needed. 

We hope that circumstances never require having to use any of the documents but being prepared now can save you a great deal of stress down the road. One last tip: Be sure to keep copies of all documents on your phone or computer so that you can easily access them if necessary.

Knowing you have done everything you can to protect your children by hiring knowledgeable professional estate planning attorneys, like the attorneys at Overstreet Law, P.A can help alleviate worst case scenarios from happening. Along with the added benefit of peace of mind! Call us or contact us online for a confidential consultation, and we’ll let you know what to expect and how we can help!