Have you ever faced the prospect of trying to figure out whether a family member qualifies for Medicaid assistance to pay for long-term care? Did it feel overwhelming? If so, don’t be discouraged. You’re not alone. A judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit wrote a legal opinion saying, “There can be no doubt but that the statutes and provisions in question, involving the financing of Medicare and Medicaid, are among the most completely impenetrable texts within human experience. Indeed, one approaches them at the level of specificity herein demanded with dread, for not only are they dense reading of the most tortuous kind, but Congress also revisits the area frequently, generously cutting and pruning in the process and making any solid grasp of the matters addressed merely a passing phase.”
A judge on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin wrote in a legal opinion that, “Anyone who works with medical assistance statutes begins by appreciating that the federal and state statutes are extremely complex and may fairly be described as incomprehensible. The statutes are characterized by ambivalence and ambiguity, by a confusing mix of means-tested programs and entitlements, and by uneasy compromises among different and often conflicting policies.”
If you are trying to figure out on your own what type of benefits you or a family member might qualify for to help pay for long-term care – stop. Seek out help before you get utterly frustrated and discouraged. And be careful where that help comes from. Medicaid rules are “ambiguous,” “complex,” “incomprehensible,” “impenetrable,” and “tortuous.” This is not the time to take advice from your well-meaning neighbors or from the beauty shop. This area is too complex, and the stakes are too high, to deal with anyone other than an experienced professional when facing long-term care issues.