Do you need to apply for Medicaid for seniors in Indiana for yourself or for a loved one? If so, and you are unfamiliar with the Medicaid program, it can be a little intimidating. To help get you started, the Plainfield area Medicaid lawyers at Frank & Kraft explain how to apply for Medicaid in Indiana.
Why Would I Need Medicaid?
Throughout your working years, you may have relied on employer sponsored or privately purchased medical insurance to cover your medical expenses. As you entered your retirement years, you naturally assumed that Medicare would pick up your medical expenses from that point onward. While Medicare does cover most healthcare expenses for seniors, Medicare does not cover long-term care. This is important because LTC may be the most expensive bill you have as a senior – and you already stand a 50 percent chance of needing LTC when you reach retirement age. Moreover, your odds of needing long-term care (LTC) increase with each passing year. Even if you purchased a private healthcare policy when your employer-sponsored health insurance terminated, it probably excludes LTC expenses. With both Medicare and private insurance failing to help with LTC expenses, qualifying for Medicaid may be your only option.
Will You Be Eligible for Medicaid?
Before applying for Medicaid you should understand some of the basic eligibility guidelines. Medicaid is a “needs based” program, which means you must demonstrate a financial need for benefits because it is intended to help low income families, pregnant women, children, the disabled and the aged with healthcare costs. Consequently, an applicant cannot have income nor assets that exceed the program limit. The income limit is tied to the Federal Poverty Level for your area and household size and changes each year.
In addition, an individual cannot have “countable resources” that are worth more than $2,000 while a married couple cannot have resources valued at more than $3,000. Although some assets are exempt, the very low countable resources limit can be problematic. If your assets do exceed the program limit, your application will be denied, and you will be expected to “spend-down” your assets. What this means is that you are expected to sell those assets and use the proceeds to pay your LTC expenses until the value of your assets falls below the program limit. With LTC costs averaging around $8,500 per month in Indiana, it is easy to see how your retirement nest egg could be depleted rather quickly if you are forced to pay out of pocket for LTC.
Transferring excess assets out of your name when you realize the need to qualify for Medicaid benefits won’t work because Medicaid imposes a five-year look-back rule. The look-back rule allows Medicaid to review an applicant’s finances for the five-year period prior to applying for benefits. Any asset transfers for less than fair market value made during that period will likely cause Medicaid to impose a waiting period during which time you will not be eligible for benefits.
How Do I Apply for Medicaid in Indiana?
Applying for Medicaid is not difficult in Indiana; however, you should have a clear understanding of the eligibility requirements before applying and be prepared to provide all the necessary information, such as:
- Names and dates of birth
- Social Security numbers
- Income from jobs or training
- Benefits you get now (or got in the past), such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), veteran’s benefits, or child support
- Family and tax relationship information
- If you are aged, blind, disabled, or receiving Medicare, the amount of money in your checking accounts, savings accounts, or other resources you own
- Payments for adult or child health coverage and medical benefits you or your family currently has.
You can apply online through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration website. You can also apply in person at a local DFR office which can be located on the IN.gov website. Finally, you may also apply over the phone by calling 1-800-403-0864.
Contact the Plainfield Area Medicaid Planning Lawyers
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about applying for Medicaid as a senior in Indiana, contact the experienced Plainfield area Medicaid planning lawyers at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.