What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a federal program designed to assist those who are unable to pay for healthcare. Although it’s a federal program, the actual administration happens at the state level. In Arizona, Medicaid is called Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and the long-term component is called Arizona Long Term Care Systems (ALTCS). While many people think of it as an insurance program for the poor, Medicaid also has a component to provide medical assistance for long-term care and skilled nursing care. Long Term Assurance can provide assistance in navigating this program.

The state evaluates applicants in three areas.

Medical

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does not require the applicant to be 65 or older, blind, or disabled. In Arizona, the system assigns points to determine medical eligibility. A medical timeline and cross-check with doctors help ensure approval for your application. Pulling this information together can be time-consuming but it is a piece of the application that our office has found invaluable.

Income

To determine eligibility, Medicaid looks at both assets and income. For a single person, your income may not exceed $2,313 per month. For a married couple, the amount doubles to $4,626. If you have an income greater by even $1 you will not be approved for Medicaid. With proper planning, a Millers Trust (Qualified Income Trust) can be used to reduce income and allow an otherwise un-approvable applicant to be approved for Medicaid.

Assets

Medicaid currently has a five-year look-back. What does this mean? All gifts, whether they are to family or a trust, that occurred within the previous five years are considered countable against Medicaid approval. There are ways to protect assets for both married couples and single applicants. It requires planning and this is something we can help you with.

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