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Protect Yourself From Receiving Bad Medicaid Advice From a Non-Attorney

The Unauthorized Practice Of Law: Don’t Become A Victim Of Medicaid Or Veteran Benefit Planning

These days scams are rampant and those who take advantage of unsuspecting consumers are very sleek in their approach. You might receive a flyer in the mail or, see a car wrapped in an patriotic-looking advertisement that says ‘qualify for veteran benefits.’  Don’t become a victim! Any non-lawyer who says they can qualify you for Medicaid or, veteran benefits for a nominal fee is committing the unauthorized practice of law and are acting in their own best interests – not your best interests. Here is what you need to know to be an informed consumer:

  1. The Veteran Administration only allows individuals who are accredited by the V.A. to prepare, present and prosecute claims for veteran benefits;
  2. No person, including an accredited individual, may charge a veteran for preparing an application for benefits. An accredited individual may charge for providing advice and for handling an appeal of a denial of benefits;
  3. Simply being a veteran or, a spouse of a veteran does not automatically mean you are entitled to Aid & Attendance benefits. You must meet income, asset and unreimbursable medical expense eligibility requirements;
  4. Don’t be fooled into purchasing an annuity (insurance product) to qualify for Aid & Attendance or, Medicaid benefits. Anyone who tries to sell you an annuity may not be informing you that they will earn a very high commission on the sale;
  5. Under the Medicaid laws, if you do not have a spouse or disabled child you must name the State Medicaid agency as the first beneficiary on the annuity to receive any remaining payments at your demise. An annuity is not your only option to obtain long term care benefits.
  6. There are many nuances to Medicaid law as well as recent changes. If all eligibility requirements (i.e. income trust for people over the income limit; special needs trust for people who have a disability) are not met your application will be denied. Don’t be conned into having a non-lawyer (even a social worker or case manager) prepare a personal service agreement for you.

Being penny wise and pound foolish does not get you Medicaid benefits. Consult with a Board Certified Elder Law Attorney today.

NEWS UPDATE: Medicaid Managed Care Is Here

Florida has begun implementing its statewide Medicaid managed care program. Broward County is one of the first in the state to begin enrolling Medicaid recipients with managed care providers. The purpose is to create a long term care system that focuses on patient centered care, personal responsibility through active patient participation and implement new reimbursement methodologies. Click here for an informative two page handout on the AHCA website that identifies services provided and identifies the plans. While the Medicaid budget is not being reduced the goal is to reduce the growth of Medicaid expenditures and promote Home & Community Based Service programs (where people receive services while residing in the community instead of a long-term care facility). Physician services are not covered under the managed care program. Recipients of the developmental disability waiver program (under the Agency for Persons With Disabilities) are not required to enroll.

Once a person is approved for long-term care Medicaid they will receive a notice advising them to select a managed care organization. You have a limited time frame to make your selection- if you don’t make a selection one will be made for you. You can speak to a choice counselor at 1-877-711-3662 to help you decide. If you don’t like the plan you have 90 days to change to another MCO plan. After 90 days you may switch plans only for good cause or, during open enrollment.

To access the 88 page Frequently Asked Questions click on this link: www.flmedicaidmanagedcare.com

To obtain a list of the managed care plans go to: https://ahca.myflorida.com/Medicaid/statewide_mc/index.shtml .

To access the state’s preferred drug list click on this link: https://ahca.myflorida.com/Medicaid/Prescribed_Drug/pharm_thera/fmpdl.shtml