Medicaid Planning Traps: Bad Timing
Timing is everything. If you are applying for Medicaid in the state of NJ, especially if you are seeking help with assisted living, there is a "coverage gap" where applications are not retroactive. What this means is that if you apply too late, any and all expenses you accrue while waiting for it to go through will not be covered. By the time you are eligible, you may find yourself with a large, unpaid bill. If you have the level of income that necessitated application for Medicaid in the first place, this can prove to be a major issue.
The good news is that, since the Affordable Care Act, New Jersey is one of the 28 states that expanded Medicaid coverage. All 21 counties are covered by the state's Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver Program. However, there is a deadline, as there is with any application. The idea behind assisted living in the first place is that you want your loved one to "age in place". Assisted living will allow him or her to remain in a home-like setting even as needs increase with age. You might say that this is a concern regarding timing in an even more meaningful sense. Life changes at this point in a person's life can be very jarring. Winding up in a nursing home can especially disrupt any patterns or routines one is accustomed to. This is why you want to ensure that long term care planning has commenced well before your family member reaches this stage. Furthermore, you want to be sure that poor planning on your part does not hinder the process. Bad timing would be an example of that. Not only could future funding be inhibited but you could be stuck with past and ongoing costs as well.
One more bit of good news is that, as overwhelming as elder care can seem, so many resources exist to guide you through the process. After all, no matter how conscientious you may be in planning your own life or even your children's future, accounting for a smooth transition for an adult with a fairly established way of live is a whole other ball of wax. In other words, timing may be everything but 'everything' sounds rather daunting. It can easily overwhelm. After 'dotting your I's' and 'crossing your T's', that last thing you or your loved one needs is new debt caused by bad timing.
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