Villa St. Francis can help seniors navigate Medicaid to pay for care

Dan Weinbaum
March 13, 2019 - 4:42 pm

Many people think Medicaid is only available to seniors who fall below the poverty line and are forced to accept subpar care.

That's not so, says Jackie Hollis, a Medicaid specialist at Villa St. Francis. 



Seventy-percent of residents rely on Medicaid to help cover the cost of care at Villa St. Francis, and they receive the same 5-star care as residents who pay privately, use long term care insurance or are covered by Medicare.

“We have residents who have been doctors, lawyers, and scientists qualify for Medicaid. Money runs out,” Hollis says.

With long term care costing an average of $80,000 to $100,000 per year, even those who have saved and planned ahead often can’t afford to pay privately and have to look at other options.

Sometimes people will try to 'spend down' their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. Hollis warns that this tactic can backfire if they don’t have a plan in place ahead of time.

When you apply for Medicaid, any gifts or transfers of assets made within five years of the date of application are subject to penalties. However, any gifts or transfers of assets made greater than 5 years of the date of application are not subject to penalties.

What this means is that if seniors start spending down assets well in advance of when they will actually need Medicaid they will get the maximum benefit and avoid expensive penalties for failing to properly plan their finances.

“Keep track of what you’re doing. Whether you’re helping a loved one apply or applying yourself, you need to be aware of everything you’ve done in the five years prior to filing the application,” she said.  “Transfers, sales of property and gifts can affect you for future care, so you need to know now.”

Hollis tries to make the transition as seamless as possible. She will sit down with prospective residents, let them know what they need and how to get approved.

“Even if you’re not ready today, you need to get ready for tomorrow,” she said.

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