For many residents of New York, the question is not if they will need long-term health care, but when. Despite this, few individuals adequately plan for such an eventuality. Unfortunately, the cost of nursing home and home health care expenses is often much higher than most people think, and without proper Medicaid planning, a regrettable number of seniors and their families find themselves worrying and unprepared.

Many aging individuals are under the mistaken belief that their long-term care costs will be covered by Medicare. In reality, Medicare pays for only a portion of long-term care, and then only under limited circumstances. Medicaid is a federal program that does help pick up the costs, but it is a needs-based program for which individuals must qualify based on income and assets.

In order to become eligible for Medicaid, some individuals undergo a process known as “spending down.” Essentially, they liquidate assets and spend all savings until the point that their net worth is low enough for them to qualify for Medicaid. However, many people do not want to spend down a lifetime’s worth of assets and the savings they’ve worked so hard to accrue, as they would rather leave as much as possible to loved ones.

For most, the best option then becomes Medicaid planning. With the help of an experienced Long Island New York Medicaid planning attorney, this process can be used to help aging seniors reposition their assets to become eligible for Medicaid benefits toward the cost of nursing home and home health care expenses. Because of the many restrictions and numerous factors that go into determining Medicaid eligibility, as well as potential penalties, it’s well advised to speak with an attorney whose practice focuses on elder law and Medicaid planning.

Source:, “Cutter Family Finances: Do I Need Long-Term Care? It is Not That Simple“, Jeffrey Cutter, Sep. 8, 2017