Articles Posted in Medicaid Applications

Biden-era legislatures are currently debating improving a Trump administration regulation associated with Medicare due to increasing pressure from Democrats. Also called a direct contracting model, the program implemented during the Trump administration lets private companies enroll in Medicare as health department members to revise and better care while keeping government costs as low as possible. 

The measure has fallen under scrutiny from Democrats who are concerned that the Biden administration is laying a path for Medicare to become private by keeping the measure intact.

Senator Warren Criticizes Model

Current federal regulations require Medicaid programs run by states to try to recoup the cost from estates of recipients who have since passed away even if the state would rather not pursue such recovery. 

Medicaid programs must pursue compensation for the cost of nursing home services as well as home and community-situated services in addition to other associated services if a person who receives Medicaid was at least 55 at the time the services were provided. States have the choice to pursue recovery for other services due. The recovery is restricted by the size of the deceased individual’s estate. No other public benefit program requires that correctly paid benefits be received from a deceased Medicaid recipient’s family members. The minimum revenue created by estate recovery is surpassed by the burden it places on low-income individuals. The burden unfairly falls on families whose loved one’s experience 

The Stop Unfair Medicaid Recoveries Act was introduced by an Illinois representative and if passed into law would revise the Social Security Act’s Title XIX to repeal requirements that states create a Medicaid Estate Recovery Program and restrict the circumstances when a state can institute a lien on property owned by a Medicaid beneficiary. 

It’s almost an understatement to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and how we live in a range of ways. While Medicare did not pay for Covid-19 tests that were available over the counter, the Center for Medicaid Services is in the process of executing an effort in the spring of 2022 that will offer payment directly to qualifying pharmacies as well as other business entities that participate in this program to help Medicare recipients receive up to eight Covid-19 tests free each month.  

Currently, Medicare Advantage Plans sometimes cover and pay for over-the-counter (OTC) Covid-19 tests as a supplement in combination with providing Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you should review the terms of the plan to check whether the plan will cover and pay for Covid-19 tests. 

All Medicare beneficiaries with Part B qualify to receive eight free OTC Covid-19 tests, despite whether a person is enrolled in a Medicare advantage plan.

Family members as caregivers overwhelmingly provide for elderly and disabled loved ones at home. Although a labor of love, taking care of ailing loved ones also has a market value, meaning that caretakers may be paid as a way to protect assets.
Through the use of a Caregiver Agreement, also known as a Personal Services Contract, the disabled or elderly person may transfer money to family members as compensation rather than as a gift. Gifts to family members made in the last five years before applying for Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs disqualify the applicant from receiving Medicaid for a certain period of time, known as a “penalty period.”
For example, mom depends on daughter Janice for her care. If mom gifts $100,000 to Janice, then goes into a nursing home in the next five years and applies for Medicaid, the gift to Janice will result in about a ten month penalty period. Janice will have to give the $100,000 back to mom to pay nursing home costs during the penalty period, or mom will have to use other resources to pay.

Medicaid is state and federal funding that pays for long-term care costs, either at home, called “Community Medicaid,” or in a nursing home, called “Institutional” or “Nursing Home Medicaid.” The Medicaid rates change every year for income and asset requirements to determine eligibility for benefits. Following are the 2020 New York rates.

A single applicant for Community Medicaid may keep up to $15,750 in assets and $875 in income. If the applicant’s income is greater than the limit, a “Pooled Income Trust” created by a non-profit organization may shelter the excess income to make the applicant eligible for community Medicaid.

A married applicant for Community Medicaid may keep up to $15,750 in assets and $875 in monthly income. The non-applicant spouse may keep their own income and keep up to $128,640 in assets. The rules are different if one spouse is enrolled in a Managed Long Term Care Plan. The applicant spouse may keep $409 of monthly income and the other spouse may keep $3,216 of monthly income. The healthy spouse may keep between $74,820 and $128,640 in assets. “Spousal Refusal” is another option that may help the healthy spouse keep more income and assets. A review of the couple’s income and assets helps determine which approach is more favorable.

THOROUGH PLANNING NEEDED IN ADVANCE

This blog has discussed the necessity of proper and thorough planning to ensure a smooth transition into a continuing care retirement community.  This requires, among other things, that a person properly and legally transfer all of their assets, or a substantial portion of their assets that is, to people or entities that would enable them to be eligible for Medicaid.  As many people know, there is a look back period where the state examines all transfers of assets or money over a certain period of time for purposes of Medicaid eligibility purposes.  

If during that time a person transferred any aset for less than full market value or did not transfer the assets to a proper investment vehicle that is otherwise exempt from Medicaid assets, the Medicaid applicant will likely be denied for financial reasons.  In other words Medicaid will claim that the applicant has too many assets or their income is too high to qualify.  Some examples of a Medicaid exempt transfer is the purchase of a graveyard plot, prepayment for funeral services or the purchase of a short term Medicaid annuity.  An interesting case from November, 2015 out of Broome County, entitled Good Shepherd Village at Endwell v. Peter Yezzi shows the many problems that can result when people start their Medicaid planning after admission to a continuing care retirement community.

SOME LIMITED RELIEF

Patients who rely on Medicare sometimes experience sticker shock after being released from the hospital only to find out that because some hospital administrator classified their stay as “observational” that they must pay a large portion of the final bill. Many times a doctor will seek to have a patient admitted for any number of reasons, only to have a bureaucrat reclassify the patient’s time at the hospital as observational. Such a designation will mean that Medicare will not pay for this time in the hospital. For Medicare to pay for a hospital stay, the patient has to be an admitted patient for at least three days (three midnights in the hospital).

Observational status does not equate to an admitted patient in Medicare’s own set of self defined definitions. That may be quite different to the patient who went to the hospital and received a number of drugs and tests during their time their and was consistent with the majority of their non-surgical stays in a hospital in life. In an effort to address these obvious problems that will only grow with time, President Obama signed a bill that required hospitals to warn patients that their stay will be considered observational in nature and that they are not being admitted under Medicare’s rules, which may result in a bill from the hospital that they will have to pay. The Notice of Observation Treatment and Implications for Care Eligibility Act would have to inform the patient that they are going to receive outpatient services under Medicare’s rules which requires cost sharing from the patient and that the observational status does not count towards the necessary three day inpatient in order to transition to a skilled nursing care facility.

Medicaid is one of the most utilized government programs for elderly American citizens that are in need of medical assistance that they cannot afford. In order to qualify for the Medicaid program, an applicant must meet a number of criteria and an application can either be filled out online or in paper form. However, many applicants to the Medicaid program have run into issues of red tape and other problems when attempting to apply for benefits.

Online Medicaid Application

The online application for Medicaid can be found on the federal Medicaid program website. For seniors that are tech savvy, the online application can be filled out in about 45 minutes. The website contains all kinds of information like eligibility, benefits, and required documentation needed to be considered for the program. After an online application is submitted, there may be follow-up phone calls by the program to make sure that everything regarding their application is in order, but usually an accepted applicant can receive their benefits card within 45 days of submitting the online application.

The federal government has proposed new rules for private healthcare insurers that have Medicaid and children’s health plans for the first time in over a decade. The proposed rules would cover healthcare plans for millions of people across the United States and calls for insurers to provide a report of what portion of money they’re paid by the government is actually going towards health benefits and is recommending that states take that into account when setting their rates.

Medicaid Program

Medicaid and CHIP cover more than 70 million people in the United States, and 12.6 million people were added last year alone from the expansion of the Affordable Care Act. The Medicaid program is state-run, but it is overseen in part by the federal government and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Private Medicaid plans operate in 39 states across the country and cover more than half of all Medicaid beneficiaries.

The first part of this article explained that there are many programs and benefits available to seniors that live in New York. The second part of the article continues to explain various services that are available to the state’s elderly population.

Temporary Assistance

This program provides cash benefits for senior citizens with limited income for essential food, clothing, and shelter items. You can be any age to apply, but people over the age of sixty do not have to meet the program’s work requirements. The resource limit for an individual is $2,000 and $3,000 if any household member is ages sixty or older. Employed applicants may be able to disregard some of their earnings and still qualify for the program. There is a sixty month limit on this program, and it applies for the lifetime of the applicant.

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