Medicaid is a means-based benefits program meant to help elderly individuals with the cost of long-term nursing home and home health care expenses. Unfortunately, Medicaid comes with a host of regulations and requirements that, if not followed to the letter, often result in penalties or even outright disqualification. There are a lot of confusing myths and half-truths surrounding the program. Luckily, a Long Island New York Medicaid planning attorney can help individuals separate fact from fiction.

For example, one common misconception is that inheritances are automatically protected from Medicaid spenddown, but this is incorrect. Spending down is the process of liquidating assets and spending savings on care costs before an individual can qualify for assistance. While there are ways to separate inherited assets from other types of assets, working within a Medicaid context is complex. Far too often, those who forgo the assistance offered by a legal professional with experience regarding these issues suffer negative consequences due to these or similar common misconceptions.

Another myth is that assets in individually owned bank accounts — as opposed to joint ones — are exempt, but this is also untrue. Other confusing areas involve divorces and prenuptial agreements, but Medicaid has its own set of stipulations that do not necessarily align with or follow those set forth in these instances. For example, a prenup is a contract between the two individuals and does not apply to government regulations.

When done properly with the help of a Long Island New York Medicaid planning attorney, Medicaid planning can help ensure that aging individuals are able to receive the care they require. With the aid of an experienced legal professional, Medicaid planning is a way to work within the government rules and follow all laws while still helping people qualify for much-needed assistance. The myriad of myths and misconceptions can feel confusing and overwhelming, but professional guidance can prove invaluable.

Source:, “Colliton: Correcting the myths surrounding Medicaid“, Janet M. Colliton, Oct. 30, 2017