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How can I incorporate Medicaid into my estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | ELDER LAW - Estate Planning

Planning for long-term care is a vital component of your estate plan as a resident of Connecticut. Medicaid, a federal and state program, plays a crucial role in this by providing health coverage to low-income individuals, including seniors and people with disabilities. What many do not know though, is that you can incorporate Medicaid into your estate plan to ensure you qualify and benefit from it for your long-term care needs.

Understanding Medicaid eligibility

To incorporate Medicaid effectively, you must first understand its eligibility requirements in Connecticut. You must be a resident of Connecticut and either a United States national, citizen, permanent resident or legal alien who needs health care assistance.

Financially, your situation must be classified as low income. Specifically, in 2024, a single applicant for Nursing Home Medicaid must meet these criteria. First, your income must be under the cost of nursing home care. Second, your assets must be below $1,600. And, finally, you must require a Nursing Home Level of Care.

Medicaid planning strategies

Medicaid planning involves strategic steps to qualify for Medicaid while protecting your assets. One of the most effective strategies is the use of irrevocable trusts. By transferring assets into an irrevocable trust, these assets are no longer counted as yours for Medicaid eligibility purposes. This can help you stay under the asset limit required to qualify.

Another strategy involves the transfer of assets. However, Medicaid’s 5-year look-back period means any transfers within 5 years of applying could lead to a penalty period where you are ineligible for benefits. Thus, it is crucial to plan these transfers well in advance.

Long-term care and Medicaid

Medicaid is a primary payer for long-term care services, which range from institutional care to home and community-based services. In Connecticut, seniors may qualify for three categories of Medicaid long-term care programs. These include Institutional/Nursing Home Medicaid, Medicaid Waivers/Home and Community Based Services and Regular Medicaid/Aged, Blind and Disabled. Each program has its own set of eligibility requirements and benefits, so understanding these differences is key to effective planning.


Incorporating Medicaid into your estate plan requires a deep understanding of eligibility criteria, strategic asset planning, and consideration of your long-term care needs. Planning ahead is essential to ensure you can qualify for Medicaid and make the most of its benefits for your long-term care.