Medicaid often does not get a lot of attention, despite its importance. However, with some in Congress looking to make cuts to the program as a way to reduce spending and taxes, Medicaid is back in the news on a regular basis.
One of the things the program does is pay for long-term care in nursing homes for those elderly people who cannot afford their own care.
That part of the program is under fire because opponents say people essentially “hide” their assets to make it look like they cannot afford their own nursing home bills, so that Medicaid will pick up the tab.
Recently, The New York Times looked at the debate over the ethics of doing so in "The Ethics of Adjusting Your Assets to Qualify for Medicaid."
On one side of the debate are people who point out that those who can plan for Medicaid are wealthy enough to hire attorneys. Therefore, they should not hide assets to take advantage of a program designed to help the poor.
On the other side, people point out that nursing home care is extremely expensive. They believe that it is not fair for people to have to exhaust all of their assets, leaving nothing for their children to inherit, in order to have some of that care paid for by a program they fund with their taxes.
Whichever side you are on, it is important to know that if you do want to plan for Medicaid, then you need to see an elder law attorney about doing so and you need to do that long before you will ever need nursing home care.
Reference: New York Times (July 21, 2017) "The Ethics of Adjusting Your Assets to Qualify for Medicaid."