If you have been fortunate enough during your lifetime to have employer sponsored, government, or private health insurance coverage you likely know very little about the Medicaid program. If you are now in your golden years, or they are around the corner, you may need to not just know about Medicaid but actually qualify for the program. The reason for this is that Medicaid may be your only option for assistance paying the high costs of long-term care should you need it at some point in the future. Ultimately, you will also need to know how to apply for Medicaid in Illinois.
Medicaid is primarily funded by the United States federal government; however, it is administered by the individual states. For this reason, there are some differences in the eligibility requirements, benefits available, and application procedures from one state to the next. Overall, however, the goal of the Medicaid program is to provide healthcare coverage to low income individuals and families. Even if you have never needed the benefits offered by Medicaid before you may need them during your retirement years when your chances of needing long-term care increase dramatically. At age 65 you stand a one in two chance of needing long-term care before you die. By age 85, the odds increase to three in four. Long-term care in expensive, averaging over $6,000 per month. With an average stay of 2.5 years that means you could be facing a long-term care bill for over $200,000. Medicare won’t pay for long-term care and neither will most private health insurance plans. For many in need of long-term care the only option is to qualify for Medicaid benefits.
If you are applying for Medicaid to get help paying for long-term care expenses it is in your best interest to consult with an estate planning attorney before applying. Medicaid has both income and asset limits that could prevent you from qualifying. Your estate planning attorney may be able to utilize some Medicaid planning strategies to both protect your assets and help you qualify for benefits.
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