Caring for your parents as they age can be a terrifying prospect, and the costs of long-term professional options may do little to ease your concerns. Medicaid could offer a lot of help in this area, but qualifying can be a headache in itself.

A private room in a care facility could cost you around $150,000 a year in Syracuse. That’s over $400 every day to get your loved one the help they need. Medicaid can cover a large chunk of that price tag, as long as your family can hit the strict requirements for assistance without breaking the rules.

Limiting allowances

Medicaid limits in New York can change drastically from one situation to the next, so it’s important to know exactly where an applicant’s assets need to land. The numbers vary depending on how much help is necessary and the type of Medicaid. Once you understand where the bar rests for property levels, the next important step is to know how the program allows people to meet those qualifications.

A long look-back

New York has a look-back period of 60 months, or five years, from the application date and may only count for those seeking a spot in a nursing home. This means Medicaid will go through financial moves during that time with a fine-tooth comb to discover any transfers that don’t play by the rules:

  • Gifts: Just because something is allowed under one federal rule doesn’t mean it qualifies for another. The IRS lets a level of gifts through without a tax hit, but Medicaid won’t play by the same guidelines. The amounts your parents hand out can still add to their overall amount.
  • Trusts: Trusts come in many shapes and sizes, and their nature can make all the difference when it comes time to Medicaid planning. Revocable trusts may still count towards your parent’s assets because they retain control, and certain irrevocable trusts could actually count as gifts.
  • Market value: The accepted worth of something counts for a lot in these matters. Giving away property or selling it well below their value can post red flags. An item’s fair market value can often overrule the transaction price to prohibit applicants from dumping assets.

Knowing the limits and how to meet them is essential for those that will rely on Medicaid for long-term care. Make sure you know where the barriers are, and you’ll be one step closing to helping your parents stay within the lines.