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New York Lawmakers Discuss Possible Medicaid Changes

The New York Medicaid application process can be a confusing and time-consuming experience. A large number of local residents can expect to go through it at some point in their lives. The latest figures suggest that one in four New Yorkers get some form of Medicaid, and nearly one million residents have been added to the program in the last ten years alone. Professional assistance with the application process is always advisable to ensure mistakes are avoided, the procedure is expedited, and asset-saving strategies are employed. Our New York elder law attorneys have worked with residents on these matters for decades.

Applying for Medicaid and planning for potential long-term care is made even more complicated by the fact that lawmakers threaten to make changes to the program on a seemingly endless basis. Yesterday the Albany Times Union reported that even though the state legislature is not in session until January, many officials floated the idea this week of a state take-over of the Medicaid program from local counties. As it currently stands, the federal government pays for fifty percent of Medicaid costs, the state pays for twenty five percent, and local counties pay for the remaining twenty five percent. New York is unique in its current structure in requiring county governments to pay for part of the costs. Only a handful of states across the country require local governmental bodies to contribute.

However, a new two percent property tax cap will make it considerably harder for counties to pay their share of Medicaid expenses without cutting other services like police patrols, veterans’ program, and road maintenance. As one state lawmaker explained, the property tax cap combined with rising Medicaid costs places localities in an untenable position with an unsustainable program. Governor Andrew Cuomo has also made a push for statewide Medicaid savings. The Governor created a Medicaid Redesign Team which is working on strategies to streamline state and local Medicaid responsibilities. However, some advocates worry that shifting the burden entirely onto the state does nothing to solve the underlying problem of rising costs. They worry that cuts to the program will still need to be made, including changes to qualification requirements.

It remains unclear if any of these Medicaid changes will become law, and, if so, what that will mean for residents. In any event, it is increasingly important for local residents thinking about their long-term care to meet with a New York elder law estate planning attorney to learn what options are available. With smart planning, residents can often avoid the need for Medicaid assistance at all, or at least ensure that their assets are protected from the requirement that they be spent down to qualify for Medicaid.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Long-Term Care Insurance is Key Medicaid Strategy to Protect Assets & Allow Home Care

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