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Medicaid Planning and Counseling
Having a Team Behind You is Important
Getting onto Medicaid in this day and age is neither simple nor fast, but it is something more and more seniors are having to do. Many of us are living far longer than we planned and the increasing costs of housing and healthcare are stretching retirement accounts far beyond what they were meant to. We have helped hundreds of families navigate the Medicaid application process with the Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS). Medicaid Planning is now the most common service Bamford Financial provides to its clients.
These services include:
- Identifying Medical Needs
- Organizing and Cataloging Assets
- Assist with the Application Process
- Maximize Asset Retention
- Coordinate with Medicaid Attorneys and Accountants
- Troubleshoot Medicaid Applications with the DSHS
- Identify and Recommend Companies that can meet Medical Needs
If you’ve determined that you or your loved one will need Medicaid soon, you should definitely start the process now by scheduling a free consultation below. The Medicaid application process, on average, can take 4-months in the State of Washington to complete. It is important to start early.
Before you come and speak with us, there are several steps you can take to get a head start on a Medicaid application. The more you understand, and prepare for your consultation, the faster the entire application can go. Here are 3 things you can do to make the most of your upcoming meeting.
STEP 1: What Do You Know About Medicaid?
There are many myths and misconceptions about what Medicaid does and does not do. Before your meeting, you need to study up on Medicaid fundamentals. It is important to understand what Medicaid covers, what different programs exist within Medicaid, and what are the real financial requirements to qualify. You can begin by following the button links below to WashingtonLawhelp.org and downloading their Question and Answer guides for Medicaid. Read about care facilities and in the home via the COPES Program. This is probably the most IMPORTANT site you will be lead to. It is where Attorneys and Financial Advisers go to find information since it is up to date with the Legal and Financial information for Long Term Care.
STEP 2: How Close Are You to needing Medicaid?
As a state program, Medicaid is meant to help those at or below the poverty line with medical needs. There are strict rules regarding how much an individual applying for Medicaid can have in available assets. If you have too much, your application could be denied. Here are some critical questions to ask about the Medicaid applicant before your meeting.
- What is the Medicaid applicants monthly income?
- How much do they receive from Social Security?
- Do they have any Long Term Care Insurance?
- Do they have a pension?
- How much is currently in their bank accounts?
- Do they hold any stock, bonds, or IRAs?
- What other assets does the applicant possess?
- Do they hold any joint financial accounts with a spouse?
- Do they own a home or any property?
- Do they own a car?
- Do they own any other vehicles?
- How much money have they given to family members recently?
Understanding a Medicaid applicants current financial status is critical to determining if and when Medicaid is right for them.
STEP 3: Start Gathering The Pieces
The only 100% certainty with any Medicaid application is that it’s going to require a lot of paper to complete. DSHS will require a lot of information and documentation about the applicant such as their medical needs and their financial history. Gathering all the information and documentation can be the hardest part of the whole process.
Here are some things to start tracking down, even before your visit:
- PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION
- Social Security Card
- Power of Attorney Paperwork
- Driver’s License
- Marriage Certificate
- Health Insurance Cards
- INCOME STATEMENTS
- Social Security Benefits Statements
- Pension Statements
- Rental Income (if any)
- Veteran Benefits (if any)
- Records of any other monthly income sources
- ASSET RECORDS
- Bank Account Statements (Last 3-months)
- Bank Transaction History (Last 3-months)
- Mortgage Statements
- Vehicle Registrations
- All Insurance Premium Bills
Gathering these items will help you get off to a great start for your meeting. More documents and records will be needed as you progress. A complete list of documents can be downloaded HERE. You can also download a general guide to the Medicaid Application process at the link below.
STEP 4: Research How to Use Your Medicaid
It can seem like jumping the gun to start shopping for services before you’ve even started your application, but not all senior services and communities take Medicaid clients. Many that do also have wait lists or only take a limited number of Medicaid clients at a time. To avoid the frustration of being Medicaid approved and being unsure where your loved one can be placed, it is best to start early.
Ask yourself some important questions like:
- What kind of care MUST the applicant have?
- Do we need a structured community or in-home care?
- How far away are we willing to go for a structured community?
- What kind of amenities do we want?
Your answers to these questions will have a profound impact on your Medicaid Application. They may also impact your decision about where services will be received whether in your home, an adult family home or a long term care facility. We will be able to offer further guidance during your consultation, but having some ideas of what kind of setting you’d like will give us a place to start.