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Understanding Medicaid

Understanding Medicaid: Who Does the New Medicaid Expansion Impact?

Both Missouri and Arkansas have accepted federal Medicaid expansion which means that in 2022, an even wider swath of residents of both states qualify for Medicaid. Expanded Medicaid eligibility is great news for low- and middle-income families alike who otherwise could not afford nursing home or personal care services. Nevertheless, ensuring your application is approved is not always easy. Medicaid imposes strict income and asset limitations, among other restrictions, and while the expansion helps, careful planning is still needed if you want to be sure you have coverage when you need it.

What Is Medicaid? 
Medicaid provides healthcare coverage to millions of eligible adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. While administered by states, the program follows federal guidelines and is jointly funded by both levels of government.

Though sometimes confused with Medicare, the two are separate and unrelated. Medicare is an insurance program administered exclusively by the federal government and funded by trust funds that those covered have paid into. Medicaid is an assistance program where qualified individuals usually pay little to no part of costs for covered medical expenses.

Medicaid Eligibility: What’s Changed?
How to qualify for Medicaid is a complex subject with no single answer. Generally, a person must meet certain asset and income limitations that vary from state to state.

Under the new Medicaid expansion in Missouri, anyone with a household income up to 138% of the poverty level may be eligible. In 2022, this means $18,754 for an individual and $38,295 for a household of four. Additionally, a person may have no more than $5,035 countable assets. This includes cash, stocks, bonds, investments, savings, checking accounts, and real estate. Generally, a person’s primary residence is excluded as are personal belongings, furnishings, and one’s vehicle.

In Arkansas, Medicaid eligibility criteria are similar. In 2022, individual household income is capped at $18,075 and a household of four at $36,908. Meanwhile, the countable asset limit is $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. The Medicaid expansion accepted by the state changes numerous aspects of how the program is administered, eliminates premiums for enrollees with income above the poverty level, and rescinds the Medicaid work requirement implemented in 2018, among other changes.

Planning for the Future: Who Qualifies for Medicaid?
Many people may see the income and asset limitations cited above and assume that Medicaid is beyond their reach. With a little planning for the future, this is rarely true. Middle-income families can access Medicaid coverage by thoughtfully reallocating assets and redirecting income. This only works if it is done in advance, however. Medicaid employs a five-year look-back period which means any shuffling of assets within the five-year period before needing skilled nursing home coverage is subject to a penalty. And these penalties can be severe

To learn more about Medicaid planning and ensuring you have the coverage you need when you need it do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm either by calling 417-623-2062 or using the contact form on our website.


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