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Why Medicaid eligibility may not translate into actual care

We can't know what the future holds. We always hope for the best, but we must anticipate worst-case scenarios. Wise individuals do all they can to plan for such circumstances. This becomes even more significant an issue for those in Ohio who are in the upper ranks of the age demographic.

The reality is that people are living longer. If they are lucky, they face years of health and enjoyable activity. But even the healthiest of seniors can be suddenly left incapacitated and in need of long-term care. Lacking proper planning with the help of an attorney experienced in Ohio elder law, the outlook can suddenly become bleak -- not only for the person who needs care, but also for their loved ones who may be drawn into the emotional and financial maelstrom.

It did not use to be that retirement incorporated Medicaid planning as an element of the overall process. But in recent years, there has been a major awakening to the fact that without proper planning, many could wind up needing general and long-term care, but have no way to pay for it.

The logical solution might be to take steps to become Medicaid eligible. But that presumes a achieving a certain level of destitution that can be difficult. And what can serve to make matters worse is that the health care insurance landscape is almost literally shifting under our feet as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

As a recent story in the Toledo Blade noted, there are more than 2.8 million Ohioans already on Medicaid in the state. And as a result of the ACA, it's estimated that an additional 430,000 will be eligible for coverage come the first of this year. The question for many, however, may be whether there will be enough doctors willing to take them on as patients.

Part of the issue is that in addition to the traditional state-run plan, a number of health insurance companies have contracted with the state to provide coverage. The problem, according to some doctors, is that the reimbursements the private companies offer aren't enough. As a result, many are refusing to accept patients from those plans.

So the question becomes, what does the future hold, and what steps might be required to ensure that any given person's needs will continue to be met?

Source: The Blade, "Ohio doctors leery of new Medicaid patients," Marlene Harris-Taylor, Dec. 1, 2014

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