NAELA Journal Article on Future of Medicaid

It can can a confusing, scary, and stressful time for all New Yorkers who use the Medicaid system for necessary health care or for those who suspect they may need it down the road. Not a day goes by that news does not break at either the state or national level regarding payment cuts, service trimming, changes to qualifications, and more.

Considering the complex political dynamics involved in any major decision regarding the New York Medicaid system, it is next to impossible to make predictions with certainty. But many experts in the field are more than eager to share their ideas about what the program might look like in the future.

For example, some may be interested in a recent article a the journal published by the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Entitled “Whither Medicaid,” the comprehensive article takes a look at all of the major notions about how Medicaid might disappear in coming years and how it may be saved via different alternative arrangements. The article can be read for free online in it’s entirety here.

The author summarizes what the national long-term care scene might be like in the event that the Medicaid program as we know it disappears. He discusses how almost all agree that financial concerns will force some changes to the program in the coming decades. While some are adamant that nothing can ultimately be done to preserve the system, many others suggest that alterations and cost saving measures are possible.

Those possible changes are then discussed in significant detail. They include the use of “block grant” programs (as proposed by Governor Romney is the last election), “managed care” options, and extension of the “look back” period for qualification purposes. The third of those options has obvious direct bearing on estate planning matters. As it now stands, residents who act prudently can use tools like a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust to protect items like a family home from being lost while trying to spend down assets to qualify for Medicaid.

Act Prudently
While talk of a world without Medicaid is understandably alarming to local residents, it is important not to overreact to certain political claims. At the end of the day, policymakers respond (usually) to the demands of their constituents. While various financial changes may be needed, it is hard to imagine such a vital tool will be pulled out from under those who rely on it.

For help understanding how to qualify for Medicaid in New York or protect assets in the event that you or a loved one needs support down the road, please contact our elder law attorneys today.

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