Oklahoma Medicaid is a program for people with low-incomes. Medicaid is also designed to provide services to some disabled individuals and seniors. In Oklahoma, Medicaid is commonly referred to as SoonerCare. The rules to qualify for SoonerCare vary depending upon the program for which you are seeking benefits, but in general, SoonerCare is supposed to provide for people who do not have a lot of money and assets.
Unfortunately for many seniors, Medicaid or SoonerCare may be the only way to pay for nursing home care if nursing care becomes necessary. Medicare and typical private insurance policies provide no or very limited coverage in rare cases for a nursing home. This means if you need nursing home care, you either have to qualify for Medicaid or to pay for care privately and spend a lot of money doing so.
Because of the restrictive Medicaid rules and the fact that Medicaid may be the only source available to cover their nursing home care costs, when they get sick and need to go into a nursing home many seniors end up impoverishing themselves and spending all their life savings to finally qualify for coverage. You can avoid this fate through careful advanced planning with help from an Oklahoma Medicaid planning lawyer at Parman & Easterday.
Do You Have to Be Poor to Qualify for Medicaid?
The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority provides information on the income guidelines for those who want to qualify for SoonerCare. Income qualification rules vary depending upon family status and other factors. For 2019, a single person or a married person with only one spouse applying could qualify for benefits with a monthly income of up to $2,313 and a married couple with both applying could qualify with a monthly income of up to $4,626.
Seniors who want to qualify for Medicaid for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled must understand income limits for that particular program. Many seniors fall below the maximum amount of income because they do not work and rely on Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, seniors can still face problems qualifying for Medicaid benefits due to limits on the countable resources they can own and still qualify for benefits.
Income and resource limits exist because the state wants to restrict Medicaid eligibility to those poor enough to require the assistance. The problem is, no matter how much money you have, it can be difficult or impossible to qualify or pay for long-term care insurance or to otherwise pay for nursing home care. This means even if you are not poor, you may still need assistance from Medicaid.
Even a person with a good-sized nest egg is going to run through their wealth very quickly when paying thousands of dollars a month for nursing home care. According to Reader’s Digest, the average cost of nursing home care exceeds $92,000 a year. You should not be forced to lose your entire life savings and the chance to leave a legacy for your family just because you need nursing home care and cannot get it except through Medicaid.
How an Oklahoma Medicaid Planning Lawyer Can Help
Some seniors who do not make advanced plans will end up with no choice but to spend everything they have until they are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid to pay for their nursing home care. If you work with an Oklahoma Medicaid planning lawyer, you may be able to protect all or a significant portion of your assets. There are ways to structure ownership of assets and make smart choices about Medicaid coverage so you do not lose everything for which you have worked so hard. You can work with an experienced attorney to find out about what you can do to protect your wealth.
Medicaid tries to stop people from giving away money or property just to impoverish themselves so they seem poor and are eligible to receive Medicaid benefits. A five-year lookback rule is one of the ways in which Medicaid tries to prevent this. Under this five year lookback rule, Medicaid will look at all your financial transactions going back five years to see if you gave away property. If you did, then you could be temporarily disqualified from getting Medicaid coverage. This means if you want to protect the maximum assets possible, you should create your Medicaid plan at least five years before you need nursing home care. This doesn’t mean you are out of luck if you waited too late, but it will likely reduce the amount you will be able to protect.
Getting Help from An Oklahoma Medicaid Planning Lawyer
To learn more about the Medicaid planning process, join us for a free seminar. You can also call today at (405) 843-6100 or contact us online for personalized assistance from an elder law attorney at Parman & Easterday, who can assist you in creating a Medicaid plan that will provide you with the protections you need if you require nursing home care.