Medicaid Video Series

Our Centennial Medicaid Lawyers Explain Medicaid Mistakes to Avoid

In our new video series, Centennial Medicaid lawyer Skipton Reynolds talks about common mistakes that people make surrounding Medicaid and how to avoid them. Use our video guide below as a free resource to better understand these Medicaid mistakes. If you have additional questions about your Medicaid application and how to protect your assets, call us at (720) 770-3880 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with us.

Mistake #1: Failing to Pre-Plan

One of the first mistakes that people make surrounding Medicaid is failing to pre-plan. These pre-planning fails include not:

  • Buying long-term care insurance. This insurance helps cover costs associated with your long-term care.
  • Saving enough money. If you do not have enough resources to pay for a high level of care, it can deplete your resources quickly.
  • Taking advantage of specialized asset protection trusts. With these trusts, you can remain in control of your assets, but you can also protect what you want from your long-term care risk.

Mistake #2: Thinking It’s Too Late to Plan

Thinking it is too late to plan or protect some of the money that is left when you need long-term care is another mistake that many people make surrounding Medicaid. There is a misconception that people need to spend their assets down to the right value to be eligible for Medicaid benefits. However, in Colorado, there are exceptions to the rules that many people do not understand or know.

In this video, we discuss how an experienced Medicaid lawyer can help you shelter your assets and be eligible for Medicaid.

Mistake #3: Giving Assets Away Without Consequences

In this video, Medicaid lawyer Skipton Reynolds discusses another mistake that people make surrounding Medicaid. This mistake is giving assets away as a gift without considering the consequences of those gifts. These consequences include:

  • Medicaid look-back. This means that if you gave a gift within the last five years, Medicaid could look back at that.
  • Getting your assets back. If you give your assets away, you have no control over them.
  • Liability risk. When you give your assets away, you also transfer liability of those assets. For example, if you give your house to your adult child, and someone sues for premises liability, then your child may be liable for damages.
  • Taxes. If you give away your assets, such as your house, there may be greater tax implications than you realize.

Mistake #4: Not Knowing Safe Harbors

Another Medicaid mistake that people make is ignoring or not knowing about safe harbors within the Medicaid rules. Safe harbors are provisions that grant protection to individuals if certain conditions are met. In this video, our Medicaid attorney discusses exemptions under these safe harbors, including specific transfers of assets and real estate exemptions.

Mistake #5: Failing to Take Spousal Protections

This video applies to couples, not single individuals. In this video, Medicaid attorney Skipton Reynolds discusses the mistake of failing to take advantage of protections granted to the spouse who is not going into care. The spouse who is not going into care is known as the “community spouse.” When you have a community spouse, there are exceptions to the “assets” standard of qualifying for Medicaid.

Exempt assets for the community spouse in Colorado in 2021 include:

  • Primary residence
  • One vehicle
  • Up to $130,380 at the time of application

In addition, the “community spouse” can start accumulating assets again after the date of application. Learn more about these spousal protections in the video below.

Mistake #6: Applying Too Early for Medicaid

Applying too early for Medicaid is another mistake that people make surrounding Medicaid. A person should ensure that he or she has met all of the qualification standards at the time of filing the application. Many people apply with the notion that they will meet the Medicaid qualifications during the application review process. However, the qualifications must be met on the filing date. This includes meeting the following requirements:

  • Heath requirement
  • Income requirement
  • Asset requirement

If a person applies and does not meet these requirements at the time of filing, it is likely that the application will get rejected.

Mistake #7: Applying Too Late for Medicaid

Similarly to applying too early for Medicaid, it is also a mistake to apply too late. When a person applies too late for Medicaid, the person may not take advantage of all of the resources available to protect his or her estate, while also obtaining the benefits of Medicaid. In addition, it could result in costly consequences.

In the video below, we provide an example of applying too late for Medicaid, the consequences of it, and what could have been done to prevent it.

Mistake #8: Not Having Qualified Experts Help in the Application Process

In the video below, Medicaid attorney Skipton Reynolds discusses another mistake that people make surrounding Medicaid. This mistake is not working with qualified experts to help with the Medicaid process.

In Colorado, people can apply for Medicaid on their own. While a person may understand the basics of qualifying for Medicaid, there are many rules and exemptions to understand. A person who applies on his or her own may make mistakes and lose out on certain benefits. Working with a professional who has extensive experience with the Medicaid process in Colorado can help a person take advantage of the process and protect their estate.

Mistake #9: Not Taking Advantage of The Spend Down Rules

Another Medicaid mistake that people make is not taking advantage of the spend down rules. The question we address in the video below is “How do we spend money, if needed, to qualify for the income requirement of Medicaid, while also benefiting from the spending?”

In the video below, we explain how a person can take advantage of the spend down rules, while also benefiting from it. A few examples we discuss include:

  • Paying debts, such as a car loan or mortgage
  • House or property repairs and modifications
  • Prepaid funeral plans

Mistake #10: Failing to Be Aware of the Colorado Estate Recovery Rules

Lastly, failing to be aware of the Colorado estate recovery rules is a mistake that people make surrounding Medicaid. Estate recovery occurs when the state of Colorado files a claim against a decedent’s estate to be repaid for the services provided to that person from being on Medicaid.

When a person who was on Medicaid in Colorado passes away, Medicaid must be notified as a creditor of the estate. In the video below, we explain Colorado’s estate recovery rules and its exceptions.

Get Legal Help With Your Medicaid Application and Protecting Your Assets

At Skipton Law, LLC, we focus on assisting individuals and families with estate law matters, including Medicaid issues. Medicaid is complicated because it has many rules and exceptions that people do not know about. If you need help filing your Medicaid application, appealing a Medicaid rejection, or protecting your assets, consider reaching out to us. Call us at (720) 770-3880 or contact us online to get started.

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