Florida’s Health Care Conundrum and What You Can Do About It

August 22, 2018

The average American spends over $10,000 annually on health care, according to the most recent estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. If you are a Florida resident, the numbers are even worse.

Florida Public Health

America’s Health Rankings places Florida 46th in terms of the percentage of the population that has health insurance. Despite Florida’s huge enrollment numbers in individual market coverage, the state has refused federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Consequently, there are an estimated 385,000 Floridians in the coverage gap—without any feasible options for health insurance coverage.

The 2017 Scorecard on State Health System Performance ranked Florida as the 39th worst state for healthcare overall. The Scorecard evaluates a range of health indicators and gives an overall score to each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Florida’s scorecard details how the state scored on individual measures within five categories: Prevention & Treatment, access to medical care, Avoidable Hospital Use & Cost, Healthy Lives, and Equity. The state earned its lowest marks for Avoidable Hospital Use & Cost, coming in 45th.

The Other 49 States

Roughly 88 percent of the U.S. population has a regular Doctor for routine medical care, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the quality and cost of the care received varies widely. The overall health of the population, medical technology and a lack of awareness regarding the most appropriate treatments, can all impact costs.

Unfortunately, higher costs do not mean improved results. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. is behind several other wealthy countries on several measures, such as life expectancy, health coverage and disease burden, which measures longevity and quality of life.

Florida Medicaid Planning and Asset Protection

The people most vulnerable to burdensome heath care costs are individuals who need consistent medical care, especially the elderly.

Proactive Medicaid Planning in Florida is a very useful tool for seniors who may be faced with the need for nursing home care and wish to qualify for Medicaid.  Nursing homes are tremendously expensive and can eat up accumulated assets quickly.  We employ legal and ethical methods that will transfer your assets so that you may qualify for Medicaid later in life. The most common method is by creating a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust.

A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust is an Irrevocable Trust.  You, as the “Grantor” create the Trust, fund it with certain assets, and name an individual “Trustee,” other than you or your spouse, to manage the Trust.  You can specify exactly how the assets should be managed and you will be entitled to all of the income for the rest of your life.   The principal of the Trust assets will remain in the Trust until your death.  When you pass away, the Trust assets will pass directly to your designated heirs.  A great benefit to this Trust is that your heirs receive the assets without going through the probate estate administration process with the Court.

Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or info@ocestatelawyers.com to learn how Medicaid planning and asset protection can help you proactively reduce healthcare costs.