Between the posturing and passion plays of Congress and scary presidential budget proposals, the public can be forgiven for worrying about the health of various social programs. The reality behind all of this current political melodrama is that the better known programs-Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will come through this largely intact. These programs are expensive to support to be sure, but each provides important services which will become increasingly so as our population ages.
So are “deep cuts” coming to any of these programs any time soon? It seems unlikely. But concessions that might be made to “fiscal hawks” to appease their demands for cuts may be to change eligibility requirements for these programs. Because of recent changes made to this program, Medicaid is currently the most vulnerable of the three. You say that it is a program that you’ll never use and such changes won’t impact you? You might be surprised.
Who Exactly Is Medicaid For?
The program was begun in 1965 by the Social Security Administration to help individual states (their participation is voluntary) finance medical services for individuals who couldn’t otherwise afford them. As of 1982, all fifty states were participating in the program to varying degrees. The prime recipients of the program are lower-income adults and children, individuals afflicted with certain types of disabilities, and senior citizens. While this program has an unfortunate reputation as “poor people’s insurance”, the reality is that one need not be impoverished to receive these benefits. Conversely, not everyone living beneath the poverty line automatically qualifies for it either.
States have some autonomy in how to administer it, the program is based on participants not having either enough private funding or health insurance to pay for specific medical needs. This means that the program isn’t designed to simply act as a primary insurance source but to supplement existing ones, such as Medicare. And among the services that this program pays for but Medicare does not are assisted living and nursing home costs and many types of home health care.
But Getting These Services Is As Simple As Filling Out An Application. Isn’t It?
To determine eligibility for this program, various criteria are considered. In order for applications to be considered, all of it must be carefully chronicled. Mistakes or overlooked information can lead to applications being rejected. Rejected applications can certainly be appealed, but the appeals process can take months. And some applicants may be considered too “wealthy” initially for the program, forcing them to “spend down” savings to qualify. As a result, they may find themselves destitute and unable to pay for other services that they may need in the meantime. This is why the services of a legal firm are recommended to help senior citizens acquire these benefits.
How Lawyers Can Help
An estimated four million senior citizens are qualified to receive services from this program, but many do not. They assume that they’re not eligible, are intimidated by the paperwork, or are discouraged by application rejections. Legal assistance can provide:
- Financial planning that doesn’t lead to excessive pay-downs
- Paperwork filed in a timely manner and without errors
- Assistance with rejected applications through the appeals process
Despite media claims, Medicaid isn’t an endangered species. It remains, however, a complicated process that may have some eligibility changes coming to it. To make sure that you have what you need in place to weather these changes, call for a consultation today to help provide a secure and comfortable future.