Florida Medicaid has different programs. Mostly everyone is familiar with their health insurance program. But, for our purposes, we are concerned with applying for the Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP) or for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (also known as the Medicaid Waiver Program) which pays for some or all long-term care costs.
The Florida Medicaid application process is often lengthy and complicated. The application form is 18 pages long and the online system can be difficult to navigate. Errors can cause your application to be denied, which can delay your ability to use your benefits, or prevent you from accessing your benefits altogether.
Because of the complexity of the process and the risk of denial, many seniors choose to hire a Medicaid planning professional to help with their application.
DO YOU NEED A LAWYER FOR YOUR FLORIDA MEDICAID APPLICATION?
No law requires that you hire a professional to assist with the process. However, due to the challenging nature of the application, most people prefer to have a Medicaid-planning professional or elder law attorney fill it out instead. This greatly increases the chance that the application will be error-free and that you will be approved for your benefits much sooner.
COMMON FLORIDA MEDICAID APPLICATION MISTAKES
Medicaid laws are difficult to navigate alone and it is easy to make mistakes when filling out a Medicaid application. One common mistake is simply applying too early. Medicaid reviews your assets and income – and if you have not engaged in proper Medicaid planning, you could subject yourself to unnecessary delays and penalties.
Another common Medicaid-application mistake is trying to play amateur Medicaid-planning lawyer. Many people will attempt to give away all their assets (perhaps to a close family member) in an effort to bring themselves below the Medicaid-ICP qualification threshold. It is a rude awakening when they realize that Medicaid specialists know of this and specifically investigate gifts for the five years prior to the medicaid application being submitted.
Trying to hide this from Medicaid is a felony (Medicaid Fraud) and when the investigating Florida Medicaid application processing specialist inevitably does find evidence that money or other assets were gifted away, there is a penalty period imposed.
Our Medicaid planning law firm knows what Medicaid is looking for and how best to present your case to qualify you as efficiently as possible. To discuss some of the other common application mistakes, or to just get some general medicaid application guidance (with no obligation to actually hire us), schedule a consultation.
Furthermore, if applying for the Florida Medicaid Waiver, there is a wait-list (i.e. if you are at home or in an assisted living facility; no wait-list if the Medicaid applicant requires nursing home care). If you, or a loved one, desires to remain at home or in an assisted living facility, we want to help you do so while minimizing the amount of time you will have to wait for long term care Medicaid waiver services.
When Applying for Medicaid in Florida: Divide and Conquer
As Florida elder care lawyers and Medicaid-planning attorneys, we try to do as much of the heavy lifting for you as possible. But there are certain required Medicaid-planning items that make sense for the client to handle (perhaps with the assistance of their family, estate planning attorney, or financial planner) since time is of the essence. For example locating previously-executed Will and Trust documents; powers of attorney; bank account information, retirement account, and brokerage account statements are tasks that just make logical sense for the client to retrieve, rather than the elder-law attorney.
However, once these items are obtained and presented to the elder law or Medicaid-planning attorney, all the heavy lifting is done on our end, including preparing all necessary documents, deploying Medicaid qualification strategies, and filling out and following through with the Medicaid application until it is approved. We even provide you with detailed instructions on your obligations after you have been approved for Medicaid and what you need to do in order to maintain Medicaid eligibility.
When applying to the Home and Community Based Services Waiver program, there is an interview process. We can coach you through the Medicaid screening to improve your placement on the Medicaid waiver wait list.
What items do I bring when meeting with a lawyer to assist with the Florida Medicaid application?
In this initial medicaid lawyer consultation article, I explain what items are needed to make the most efficient use of your time with the medicaid attorney who will be assisting with your medicaid application in Florida.
If you do not have all of the requested information and documents, as long as you have an educated estimate as to the value of assets and income sources, you can have a meaningful meeting with the lawyer. Items can always be gathered and produced later and the initial medicaid planning consultation should not be delayed.