Friday, July 27, 2012

When are Medicaid Planners appropriate?

One problem we see again and again is families that have the need for Medicaid (or Medicaid waivers), but have no idea if they qualify or what can be done to help them qualify.  This problem is compounded by the fact that most states seek to limit Medicaid enrollment to save costs.  Therefore it is not unusual for states employees (such as those who work at Area Agencies on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers) to only provide Medicaid application assistance to individuals whom they know are eligible. 

On the surface this makes sense, but Medicaid eligibility is rarely black and white and therefore by limiting application preparation help to only those who clearly qualify, a large portion of the population that reside in the gray area are shut-out from receiving Medicaid assistance.  To clarify, many individuals have income or assets just slightly higher than Medicaid's limits, but cannot afford the cost of care.  These individuals and families can use a variety of techniques such as Medicaid spend-down, income trusts or asset conversions to qualify for Medicaid assistance, but they are unaware these options exist and public employees are not incentivized to make them aware.

Fortunately a new website (at least new to us) provides free Medicaid eligibility counseling.  Medicaid eligibility experts review an individual's situation and respond by telling them if they qualify, if not, what options are available to them to help them qualify and then provides them with their most affordable recommended options for getting assistance qualifying and applying for Medicaid.  The website also includes a very straightforward analysis of the pros and cons of the various types of Medicaid planners.

So is there a catch?  Why would Medicaid eligibility experts spend 15-30 minutes to review an individual's information for free and provide a personalized response?   Well for a limited number of potential Medicaid applicants, their most affordable option to gain Medicaid eligibility is by working with an elder law attorney.   The contact information for the elder law attorney is included as a potential option for applicant.  There is no commitment required and both parties are free to contact one another if they so desire. 

We applaud this sort of creative thinking enabled by the Internet that results in a win-win situation for both families in need and those who can offer them services.  Check out their website at www.medicaidplanningassistance.org.