Start the New Year Right: 5 Medicaid Coverage Myths that Can Stay in 2022
“What is Medicaid?” gets searched over 16,000 each month which tells us two things: one, Medicaid coverage is in high demand, and two, basic knowledge about the program is lacking. It comes as no surprise, then, that myths around Medicaid abound. Here, we seek to set the record straight and dispel the five most common so that we can all start the new year with a clean, clear slate.
What Is Medicaid? And, Equally Important: What Isn’t?
Medicaid is not healthcare coverage for the unemployed. We are asked over and over if having a job disqualifies you from gaining Medicaid coverage and the answer is a resounding NO. More than half of Medicaid beneficiaries work and employment status is not an adjudicating criterion. Where qualifying for Medicaid is concerned, income, assets, and planning are what matter most.
Medicaid is not Medicare. Medicaid and Medicare are two separate programs that, while run by the federal government (in part), have nothing to do with one another. Having Medicare does not mean you don’t need Medicaid. The former is federal health insurance for those over 65 or with certain disabilities; the latter is a joint federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage, including long-term care coverage to those who could not otherwise be able to afford such services.
You don’t need to be homeless to qualify for Medicaid. “Can I qualify for Medicaid if I own a home?” is nearly as common a question as “what is Medicaid?”, generally. We’re not sure how the rumor started, but a troubling amount of people believe having a house means you can’t have Medicaid coverage. This is simply not true. Nonetheless, it is true that you need to invest in Medicaid planning if you own significant assets and hope to qualify for the program.
Qualifying for Medicaid isn’t as simple as giving away your assets. You may have heard that redistributing your assets allows you to qualify for Medicaid and, while this isn't wrong, it's not a simple matter of putting property in your children’s names or writing generous checks. Medicaid employs a 5-year look-back period that scrutinizes all your recent transactions which means expert help is required if you want asset re-allocation to work.
Medicaid will not impoverish your spouse. While Medicaid does count both spouses’ assets when one or the other applies for coverage, this does not mean both need to spend down to near zero for one to qualify. The Spousal Impoverishment Law exists to ensure that even when you apply for Medicaid, your spouse is able to retain adequate finances to support themselves. Here, too, expert counsel is needed to ensure all decisions you make abide by this legislation, however.
To learn more about Medicaid or to dispel any other misconception you (and so many others) may carry, do not hesitate to reach out to AshBer either by using the contact form on our website or by calling us at (888) 441-1595.