The thought of getting old is daunting for most people. The idea of losing your independence and becoming a burden to your loved ones is something that we all hope to avoid. But what happens when the time comes, and you need long-term care? You may find that the costs are more than you can afford. That's where Medicaid comes in.
Unfortunately, applying for Medicaid in Virginia is a long, complicated process, and the government frequently changes eligibility terms. Waiting until you turn 65 or need extensive medical care to apply for Medicaid could leave you without the proper coverage or even disqualify you from receiving the assistance you need.
At McCarthy & Akers, PLC, our experienced Medicaid attorneys go to work for you when it comes to planning for your future. Call a member of our team at (540) 722-2181 to schedule your consultation.
What Is Medicaid in Virginia?
Medicaid is a jointly funded state and federal health care program for low-income persons of all ages. However, this blog will focus on Medicaid eligibility for older Virginia residents. In Virginia, the Department of Medical Assistance Services administers the Medicaid program. Your local Department of Social Services determines eligibility.
The coverage you could receive through Medicaid depends on your specific plan and overall eligibility. However, the program provides several mandatory benefits to all members, including:
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital services
- Laboratory and x-ray services
- Home health services
- Physician services
Medicaid may also include the following optional benefits:
- Prescription medications
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Case management
Medicaid eligibility is based primarily on income. As a result, when you apply for Medicaid, you must show the government that you meet the necessary baseline income requirements.
Medicaid Eligibility Requirements
Here are some things you need to know about eligibility for Medicaid in Virginia:
- You must be a legal United States citizen.
- You must be a resident of Virginia.
- You must meet specific income requirements. You may not qualify for Medicaid assistance if your income is too high.
- You must meet specific asset requirements as well. If you have too many assets, you may not be eligible for help from Medicaid.
- Virginia offers several different types of Medicaid coverage, so make sure you understand which type of coverage best suits your needs.
An elder law attorney can help you apply for Medicaid and navigate the complicated eligibility rules. They can also help you plan for long-term care needs and protect your assets should you go into a nursing home.
Why You Should Plan Early to Become Eligible for Medicaid
Planning early on to make yourself eligible for Medicaid can provide several benefits. Here are three primary reasons you should begin planning for Medicaid now.
1. Virginia Has a 5-Year Look-Back Period
Virginia has a 5-year Medicaid Look-Back Period that immediately precedes one’s Medicaid application date. During this period, Medicaid checks to ensure no assets were sold for less than fair market value or given away. If this has been done, Medicaid assumes it was to meet Medicaid’s asset limit. Violating the look-back rule results in a penalty period of long-term care Medicaid ineligibility. As a result, it’s always best to begin planning for Medicaid at least five years before you apply.
2. You Never Know When Your Health Might Decline
Some retirees put off the Medicaid application process for several years because they do not believe they will need its benefits for some time. While you may be healthy on the day you turn 65, you never know when your health could take a turn.
According to a recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 7 out of 10 people will require long-term care in their lifetime. Unfortunately, living in a nursing home is expensive, costing an average of $109,860 per year in Virginia for a private room. With the right planning, Medicaid can help reduce these costs and make living in a nursing home more manageable.
Once you turn 65, your probability of requiring medical assistance increases. It’s always best to prepare for the worst concerning costly expenses like health care.
3. A Virginia Medicaid Attorney Can Help You Prepare Now for a More Secure Future
Because the Medicaid eligibility and application process is complicated and time-consuming, many people turn to attorneys for Virginia Medicaid assistance. However, if you wait until the last minute to begin planning for Medicaid, you may not have enough time to involve an attorney in your process.
Hiring a Medicaid attorney can provide you with several benefits throughout the Medicaid application process. An attorney can help you:
- Determine your Medicaid eligibility
- Create a trust and transfer ownership of assets to reduce your asset value
- Avoid spending down on non-qualified expenses
- Navigate the application process
Overall, a Medicaid attorney can help you preserve your assets and receive the most benefits from a Medicaid plan.
McCarthy & Akers, PLC: Your Virginia Medicaid Attorneys Who Go to Work for You
If you’re looking for a “Medicaid attorney near me,” look no further than our McCarthy & Akers, PLC team. Turning 65 or having a medical emergency are not the best times to apply for Medicaid coverage in Virginia. By then, it may be too late. The process is long and complicated, and the government frequently changes eligibility requirements. The earlier you start the process, the better we can help ensure you get the coverage you need when you need it.
At McCarthy & Akers, PLC, we make choosing a legal partner easy. While other law firms may see you as just a number or another case, we take the time to get to know you and understand your legal needs.
If you think you may need assistance from Medicaid in the future, contact our Medicaid attorney team from one of our offices in Strasburg, Woodstock, Front Royal, Winchester, Manassas, and Warrenton at (540) 722-2181, or fill out our online form, to schedule your consultation. Let us go to work for you!
Copyright © 2022. McCarthy & Akers, PLC. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (post) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
McCarthy & Akers, PLC
302 W Boscawen St.
Winchester, VA 22601