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Medicaid: Mistake #4 – Applying for Medicaid Too Early or Too Late

If you read this blog post and only remember one thing, I hope it is this: NEVER APPLY FOR MEDICIAD UNLESS YOU QUALIFY.

It is very important that you create your plan, use legal strategies to protect your assets, and make sure you have met the rules for qualification for Medicaid, and then apply.

With the annual cost of Nursing Home Care on Long Island ranging from $120,000 to $170,000 or more, and Home Health Care costing up to $75,000 annually, filing a Medicaid application too early or too late can cost you and your family thousands of dollars.

Depending on your situation, applying for Medicaid too early can result in a longer period of ineligibility than you would face if you waited to file the application. For example, if the Medicaid applicant made a significant gift 4 years ago, it would be better to wait out the five year Medicaid look-back period than to file immediately.

Although applying for Medicaid too early can be a costly mistake, waiting too long to apply is also a major mistake that can cause the loss of months of eligibility. For example, if you wanted Medicaid to cover your nursing home cost in July of 2012 and you file your application in December of 2012, then you can not get coverage for July. Medicaid will only provide three months of retroactive coverage from the month you file the Application.

It is also important to beware of those who are available to “help” you with the Medicaid application. As I have stated before, the Medicaid rules and regulations can be extremely complicated and the counties review Medicaid applications very thoroughly in order to conserve resources. When thousands of dollars-worth of your hard earned assets are at stake, it is prudent to consult with a competent Elder Law attorney before applying for Medicaid.

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