A Medicaid Planner is a term that encompasses many different types of professionals who may be able to assist you or a loved one with qualifying for Medicaid benefits. Not every Medicaid Planner may be appropriate for your individual needs or situation.
Although Medicaid is a federal program, it is run on a state-by-state basis. This means every state has its own rules and requirements. If you are considering working with a Medicaid Planner, it is important you work with someone who is familiar with your state’s particular requirements.
Different Types of Medicaid Planners
Elder Law Attorneys — Elder law attorneys are licensed to practice law in a specific state, so they are knowledgeable about their state’s individual Medicaid eligibility requirements. They can help individuals or families protect their assets with Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts (MAPT). If a MAPT is not permitted in your state, they can also help you explore alternatives to reorganize assets or income so that you can qualify for Medicaid in the future.
Elder law attorneys can also help you appeal a Medicaid denial or adverse Medicaid determination. In addition, where issues become contested with skilled nursing or long-term care facilities, an elder law attorney may be able to help you navigate these issues.
- Financial Planners — Financial planners can provide a broad range of advice and planning, but cannot draft legal documents. They can help you put together a long-term care plan, discuss and evaluate investment options, and provide other financial advice. However, not every financial planner understands the intricacies of Medicaid or the particular care requirements that a person may have.
- Care Managers — Elder care managers are more focused on care planning and coordination, such as resolving issues you may face if you need community or skilled nursing home care, as opposed to handling financial planning or legal matters. Because they are more familiar with day-to-day care issues, they often can serve as very knowledgeable resources on local programs and alternatives to Medicaid.
- Counselors — Medicaid counselors are typically volunteers who offer limited services, like assisting with the application process, at no cost. They usually cannot advise a person on how to qualify for Medicaid. They also cannot provide legal or financial advice.
- Insurance Agents and Commission-Based Medicaid Planners — These professionals also have a limited ability to assist with Medicaid planning. Only some products they can sell are Medicaid-compliant. For example, only specific insurance policies, such as prepaid burial insurance and certain annuities, are not “counted” in the Medicaid asset limit applicable in your state. These professionals can help sell you one of these options and will receive commissions paid by the insurance company.
Not every type of Medicaid Planner may be suitable for your situation. For those with significant assets or income, a legal professional combined with a financial professional may make the most sense. Others, whose income and assets are below Medicaid’s limits, may benefit most from a care manager who can help them find the best quality of care in their community.
For more information on Medicaid planning, reach out to an elder law attorney in your area.