1. Thinking that it is too late to plan.
It’s almost never too late to take planning steps. A family can still plan even after a loved one has moved to a nursing home.
2. Applying for Medicaid too early.
This can result in a longer period of ineligibility in some instances.
3. Applying for Medicaid too late.
This can result in the loss of many months of eligibility and additional out-of-pocket costs that can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars. Such a disaster could have otherwise been avoided with careful planning.
4. Not getting expert help.
Medicaid eligibility is an extremely complicated field that most people deal with only once in their lives. Tens of thousands of dollars or more, hidden dangers, and unintended consequences are at stake for the ill informed. It’s penny wise and pound foolish not to consult with an elder law attorney to seek guidance through the Medicaid maze.
5. Failing to recognize the protections afforded the spouse of a nursing home resident.
These protections may include, for example, purchasing a qualified immediate annuity, petitioning for an increased community spouse resource allowance, investing in upkeep of the house, and keeping the maximum amount of assets allowed.
6. Ignoring important safe harbors created by Congress.
Certain transfers are allowable without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility. Such transfers include: transfers to disabled children, caretaker children, and certain siblings.