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Medicaid Planning [Handing this Rollercoaster of Emotion]

The aging of a loved one, particularly a parent or spouse, can be described as an emotional roller coaster and there are serious. The changes that a loved one is experiencing, as well as the financial and other emotional pressures, make this a very frightening time.  Medicaid planning emotional challenges to make matters more challenging.  On the other hand, this is a time where families can come together and cherish what matters most.

Often, because of this emotional roller coaster affect, families can become paralyzed or confused over the basic financial decisions that must be made in order to properly care for a loved one AND to save in the needless expenditure of family resources.   Key strategies to get proactive and stay effective through this process is the focus of this week’s article.

Florida Medicaid Planning Requires Careful Decision Making

When a loved one comes to need full skilled nursing assistance, it is all too common for families to either make rash decisions or avoid making the necessary decisions needed to protect finances and arrange for proper care.

Poor financial decisions are common due to the strain of looming medical costs and this can cost families dearly.

There are many articles on this blog about proper Florida Medicaid planning and avoiding the pitfalls inherent in making unwise Medicaid planning decisions.

The key to avoid making rash decisions is to proactively seek professional advice as well as research your areas of concern.  For example, a common rash decision is to transfer assets from an aging parent to an adult child, and this downsizing of the estate without considering Medicaid implications may result in a penalty if within the 5 year look back period under the Medicaid rules.  Thus, any transfers of assets must be looked at objectively by a professional.

Declining Physical Abilities Can Lead to Difficult Decision Making in Medicaid Planning

All too often, folks who are declining physically do not want to acknowledge their physical needs and this can lead to paralyses of families who are unable to get the necessary medical approval to apply for Medicaid.

If you haven’t yet reached this point, can you imagine how difficult it is to face one’s own mortality and declining physical abilities.  To be sure, this is a difficult part of the aging process and sometimes it can create unnecessary challenges for families.  Most often, this situation culminates in a loved one’s refusal to seek needed medical feedback…this is especially the case in dementia cases, and often anger and frustration ensues for all parties involved.

Physical Decline in a Loved One can Cause Families to Refuse Needed Help

I’ve often observed that families in the midst of these kinds of major transitions can become unable to make necessary changes even if circumstances demand it.  I believe this is a combination of a grieving process AND the difficult subject matter involved.  After all, the medical cost amounts for skilled nursing care $5,000 – $8,000 per month and climbing, are staggering and there is also the emotional decision to remove a loved one from the family home.

For the above reasons, or even due to a grieving process, families often continue paying out of pocket leading to what I call facing medical cost drainage rather than apply for Medicaid assistance and this is a needless expenditure of valuable resources.

When emotional paralysis strikes families, often negative financial consequences are the result.  For example, I’ve observed families continue to pay for skilled nursing care out of pocket for months on end before finally making the decision to apply for Medicaid assistance…and this is has been in cases where the parties are under the asset and income limits for Medicaid.

Proactively Solving Medicaid Problems

The above problems are common and can be most effectively addressed through partnering with caring, qualified professionals who are willing and able to offer an objective voice about the circumstances.  This is a difficult area because deeply emotional issues overlap with serious family business (financial) concerns.  Thus, treating it like a business is important and listening to experts is critical because this can save substantially both in financial and emotional expenditures.

Steve Gibbs, Esq.

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