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Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-30-2005, 03:51 PM   #1
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Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

It's either that or divorce....

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/...in684129.shtml

Colorado is one of 20 states that now claim at least part of the IRAs and other pensions of healthy, retired spouses, like Ken, before giving up any Medicaid dollars. It's a new concern for America's 77 million baby boomers who were told to invest in IRAs and 401Ks that would see them through old age.

Critics say Colorado's law, and others like it, discourage savings and scare people away from retiring and are anti-marriage because only spouses are penalized.

Ken Walker says he even considered getting a divorce, but he couldn't.

"That's for some people but that's not for Ken Walker," he says.

Instead, he had to liquidate his 401K. Colorado left $95,000 in his IRA for him to live on for the rest of his life.

</snip>


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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-30-2005, 04:08 PM   #2
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

That's because Medicaid is a form of welfare intended for those unable to pay for their own healthcare, which is why self-insuring can be hazardous to your IRAs. Which is also why I carry full health insurance.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-30-2005, 04:57 PM   #3
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

I am 60 years old. So far I have never lost a fight over significant money. I tend to think I can outwit whatever
dopey stuff gets thrown at me. I know it's not literally true. It's a visceral thing. So, I may get beat, but believing I will not makes me a formidable adversary.

JG
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-30-2005, 05:35 PM   #4
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

I've brought this up here before. In Maryland the amount you can keep is 90K. I've asked AARP if any legislation is being considered to protect 401(K) and 403(B) accounts. The answer was no. I've written to my congress woman - no response. I don't see the fairness of this, because if a person has a pension, that money cannot be taken away. Those of us who have 403(B)s have them because no pension is provided. I also don't understand why, if I contribute the maximum to my 403(B) each year instead of spending it now, why should I end up in the same position as someone who spends it now instead of saving it? I don't mind having medicaid take the money once the second spouse needs nursing home care, but not while one spouse still needs to have a decent income.


The article suggests that other states will implement laws allowing Medicaid to take the retirement assets of a healthy spouse. I believe this is already the law in every state. If there is a state where it isn't, I want to move there. New York does allow "spousal refusal". I am hoping that, when more people realize what the law is, they will demand that the practice be changed.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 01:24 AM   #5
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Quote:
I've brought this up here before. In Maryland the amount you can keep is 90K. I've asked AARP if any legislation is being considered to protect 401(K) and 403(B) accounts. The answer was no. I've written to my congress woman - no response. I don't see the fairness of this, because if a person has a pension, that money cannot be taken away.
This is an excellent point, especially since I have no pension and will have to fund retirment from IRA/401K and non deferred assets.

The government is not rational. It does not treat all citizens equally. Changing the rules is one way. Play inside the rules is another.

How about converting deferred assets to a fixed annuity. I know some medicaid rules will allow an income producing asset to be considered differently than a non income producing asset.

With the present financial status of the federal and state governments, it appears that in the future the medicaid rules are going to get much more restrictive.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 02:44 AM   #6
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Hello uncledrz! If you are looking for fairness and
uniformity (or even common sense) in government rules and regulations, you are doomed to disappointment.
I take the opposite approach, i.e. I expect to be
disappointed and my expectations are met close to
100% of the time.

JG
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 04:21 AM   #7
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Quote:
I am 60 years old. So far I have never lost a fight over significant money. I tend to think I can outwit whatever dopey stuff gets thrown at me. I know it's not literally true. It's a visceral thing. So, I may get beat, but believing I will not makes me a formidable adversary.
I wish i could run into more people like you during work. Normally, its no challenge for me. I actually get excited when clients hire a lawyer. Most of the time, I still get my way, but at least it was challenging in the process.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 04:56 AM   #8
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

The government can change the rules - when they need the money.

Ask a Korean war vet about his ??health benefits??

Growing up on the West Coast - the 'chinese solution' was to make assets 'invisible'.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 06:35 AM   #9
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

To the original poster, I have little sympathy for someone with a massive IRA but no health insurance. *Much better to have a smaller IRA, but a full health insurance policy. *Its practically impossible to find a credible financial help book at the bookstore that would actually recommend you not have a full health insurance policy at all times. * *

Of all the insurances to have, health is easily the most important and the last one, one should go without. *Just one major health catistrophy without a solid health insurance policy could wipe someone out.

A great itemizied test for whether one is ready to ER is whether you can afford a health insurance policy retired. If not, you know for sure you can't afford it yet.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 08:21 AM   #10
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

I agree with much of what azanon has posted.
However, I also think that "going bare" is just
another "risk" decision in ER. I haven't done it myself, but
I understand why a person might do it. Normally
at this point I would quote Al Pacino, but even I can see
I have overused that line

JG
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 12:27 PM   #11
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Quote:
The government can change the rules - when they need the money.

Ask a Korean war vet about his ??health benefits??

Growing up on the West Coast - the 'chinese solution' was to make assets 'invisible'.
Invisible how? And how is this a "chinese solution?"
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 12:45 PM   #12
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Huge chinese population in california...we have a Bok Kai festival here in Yuba City every year and some of the oldest preserved homes are from early chinese settlers.

Paperless banks...you give your money to a group of people who "do something with it" and remember how much money you have, but no paper changes hands...hence no paper trail. And you make sure you do this with a very young 'banker' who is likely to retain his eidetic memory a little longer...
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 01:30 PM   #13
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Gold. precious stones, and jade. Busineses and other paper trail assets in someone else's name.

The later has Godfather implications - make sure it's someone you are in a position to make an offer they can't refuse.

The loophole of family heirlooms and jewelry has been abused so much of late - courts will sometimes take the money via forced sale anyway.

Also with IRA - you get hosed on taxes with big moves(except Roth).

Again - the general rule is if you own it or control it - Medicaid is first in line - in many/most states ahead of your will if they think there is money to recover.

Again - one place where qualified lawyer can help - provided you are 5-10 yrs before the events take your options away.

One thing - the average lawyer doesn't have a clue how to shelter assets - at least the ones I found in the yellow pages.

I coughed up $187 several years ago and went with an Oregon company I found on the internet.







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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 01:35 PM   #14
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

UncleMick, many lawyers stay away from Medicaid planning because they run the risk of a Medicaid fraud claim being made against them personally. The rules are very tough on lawyers.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 02:38 PM   #15
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Actually there some ways to save some of the assets in an IRA - state specific rules, taxes, and triggering look back provisions require timely and precise moves by the individual - a lawyer can't do it for you.

The lawyers role is limited - and as suggested probably not worth the level of pain/punishment for a misstep.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 04:19 PM   #16
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Quote:
To the original poster, I have little sympathy for someone with a massive IRA but no health insurance. Much better to have a smaller IRA, but a full health insurance policy. Its practically impossible to find a credible financial help book at the bookstore that would actually recommend you not have a full health insurance policy at all times.

Of all the insurances to have, health is easily the most important and the last one, one should go without. Just one major health catistrophy without a solid health insurance policy could wipe someone out.

A great itemizied test for whether one is ready to ER is whether you can afford a health insurance policy retired. If not, you know for sure you can't afford it yet.

I think that many of the folks requiring the use of Medicaid to cover health care costs are those facing huge bills for rest home and long term care. Few would argue the wisdom of health insurance, but the crowd is probably split on LTC insuance.

While the rules for Medicaid do seem a little unfair, it is basically an arrangement where the Government is paying for our welfare. I don't know that it is especially unreasonable to treat an IRA diffently that other retirement incomes such as real estate rentals. Medicaid is basically there to provide healthcare for those who other wise can't afford it. It isn't so much the rules about a 401K/IRA that are the issue, but the basic concepts of how we expect the tax payers to care for us when are no longer able to do so for ourselves.
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 05:14 PM   #17
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

UncleMick2, could you share what some of those moves might be?
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 03-31-2005, 05:17 PM   #18
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Yeah unclemick, please share Seriously, I spent a lot of time on this (sheltering assets) and came up pretty much empty. Could
be because I don't have enough for anyone to bother
talking with me.

JG
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 04-01-2005, 05:39 AM   #19
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

Sorry

Murphy's law - last night a close friend of the family died - age 44(back surgery, ? blood clot/heart attack?).

The mother is legally blind so we are will be involved in the planning/paperwork/funeral cycle. and will be out of pocket briefly.

I coughed up $187 and used medicaidhelp.com out of Grants Pass Oregon. Widowed mom, no house, staged gifting and LA private pay factor - our plan is simple AND YET TO BE TESTED since she is home with us.

Total assets/your state's private pay factor is the key metric. Family cooperation is essential. Once you are there, all the the options are odious - but some assets can usually be saved. The article is misleading in that you have some rights with your own assets/IRA included.

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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA
Old 04-01-2005, 10:02 PM   #20
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Re: Medicaid Could Cost You Your IRA

The article spoke of 24 hour home care nursing, which is often not covered under standard medical insurance. *Nursing home coverage with a home care option would be needed to insure against this eventuality, in addition to the health care policy. *I don't think Medicare covers this either, so you would need to keep the policy after age 65.

Except for those who have enough to cover the 72K per year in addition to their current expenses.
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