The importance of Medicaid Planning during a Pandemic

We’ve been hearing all over the news about Coronavirus and how it has impacted everyone on a global scale. In some way, shape or form, this current pandemic has most likely affected you personally. Perhaps you know someone that has fallen ill from the disease, lost a job, had to close their business or you simply had to quarantine yourself.

But what happened to those in nursing homes and how has their Medicaid been affected?

Since the start of the pandemic, the Trump Administration and The White House Task Force have been passing legislation to make sure that those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities were being properly taken care of. They made sure to provide those facilities with clear guidelines and effective procedures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents. Some of those guidelines included: limiting the number of visitors to facilities, covering COVID-19 tests and a focus on heightened sanitation for all facilities. Here’s a copy of the April 2nd Guidance.

The Florida Department of Children and Families, directed through the State and Federal governments, provided extensions for those already on Medicaid, ensuring there was no lapse in their coverage, through the state of emergency. DCF has also extended re-certifications (those due during the months of the state of emergency) for another 6 months to allow benefits during the months of the pandemic. Additionally, any application submitted in Feb 2020 through the state of emergency will have an extension of 120 days to submit supporting documentation.

For other ways on how FL DCF has responded to COVID-19 and Medicaid, visit their website. DCF COVID-19 Information

Beginning in May 2020, the Internal Revenue Service [IRS], under order of the Federal government started issuing Economic Impact Payments to all Social Security and SSI recipients. These payments were issued to all Americans in an effort to stimulate the economy. Read the article from the Social Security Administration, Here.

These payments, however, are not to be turned over to the facilities. These payments are solely for the benefit of the recipient. There have been several incidents now reported that nursing home residents are being asked to turn over these funds. The IRS recently published an alert clarifying that the EIP belongs to the recipient, not nursing homes or care facilities. Read it Here

According to a News Alert released on June 1, 2020, by, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid state the following:

Residents or their family who were compelled to sign their stimulus check over to their nursing home, are encouraged to file a complaint with their state survey agency for investigation of the nursing home. State specific complaint contact information is available here:

CMS and State investigators will make referrals to the States Attorneys General, as appropriate, if they find a nursing home in violation of these requirements.

Here are a few suggestions on how to properly spend down the funds from an Economic Impact Payment, so that the Medicaid recipient does not exceed the asset limit, in order to maintain their Medicaid coverage:

  • Purchase clothing for the individual
  • Purchase electronics: TV, headphones
  • Buy Medical equipment not normally covered through Medicare or Medicaid
  • Purchase an Irrevocable Prepaid Burial plan
  • Purchase some of the individuals favorite’s: snacks and entertainment

If you need further assistance or have additional questions on how to properly spend down these additional funds, contact your elder law attorney.

Medicaid Planning is an essential part of your financial planning. An elder law attorney is able to properly guide you when making decisions about your future. Whether you are planning for long term care in a facility in the near or distant future, having a Medicaid plan in action will help in qualifying you, in the event that you eventually need to apply for the benefit. Having this important conversation with your attorney allows you to see how Medicaid planning complements your estate planning, allowing you to protect your assets and ensure a long lasting legacy.

Contact us today to see how our attorneys can assist you in creating a plan tailored specifically to your needs and wishes. Call us at 561-588-7512 or 888-552-7512

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Further Resources

If you are interested in getting a COVID-19 test done, Florida Medicaid, A Division of the Agency for Healthcare Administration, released an alert on June 12, 2020, that Medicaid now covers the COVID-19 antibody test. A copy of the release is Here

For more information on how Medicaid and other agencies are working together on COVID-19 visit’s website: Here

Florida Department of Health and other Public Agencies information Here

Received an EIP for a deceased person? The IRS states that the funds should be returned.

For steps on how to return the funds to the IRS, visit the IRS Information Center

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