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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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Qualifying for Medicaid

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If in doubt, please send a new question or ask for an update.

Q: My wife and I are disabled and I receive social security disability benefits. We do not qualify for Medicaid because we have other assets that disqualify us from state eligibility. We cannot afford private insurance.

A: Social assistance programs are not intended for those who own significant assets or have other income in excess of the poverty level. If you want to access this system, you must spend down or legally transfer your assets that are preventing you from receiving benefits. Under federal laws a financial adviser is not allowed to assist in providing advice to aid in protecting assets from Medicaid claims other than using a few "standard" measures that are commonly accepted, like putting retirement investments into a Medicaid-qualified annuity account and keeping the maximum allowable cash value in a life insurance policy. There is a growing feeling among citizens (covered in other columns) that we have a right to health care (either public or private) without spending down our assets to poverty level. This growing public opinion may change the laws of the future but this attitude will not help right now. You are apparently aware of the specific criteria for qualifying for Medicaid benefits. If you want to receive Medicaid benefits, you must operate within this system as it exists today.


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