Partnership programs were introduced in the 1980s as an option for people who were planning to fund their long-term care needs with Medicaid. Under partnership programs, clients have dollar-for-dollar or total asset protection once they’ve exhausted all of their plan’s benefits. This protection allows them to financially qualify for Medicaid without an estate spend-down.

When utilizing a state’s partnership program, a client purchases his or her long-term care insurance plan and establishes a benefit pool, which is the maximum amount of money the insurance provider will pay out. This benefit pool represents what the client must spend down to in order to qualify for Medicaid. So if a client has $500,000 in assets and has a plan with a benefit pool of $400,000, he or she only needs to spend down $100,000 to qualify.

When your client transitions into Medicaid coverage, they will no longer have the right to elect where they receive their care. If your client plans on receiving in-home care, make sure they know that Medicaid will not afford them this freedom of choice and they may want to consider extending their benefit period to decrease the chances of exhausting their benefit pool.

A partnership plan does not automatically qualify a client for Medicaid – they also must meet certain medical and income requirements to receive those benefits. Medicaid requires more than just a total asset minimum requirement and clients need to know that even with a partnership plan, they may still not qualify for Medicaid.

Make sure that you and your clients are well-versed in your state’s individualized partnership plan. Also be sure that your clients understand how they would qualify for Medicaid, and if the service they receive through Medicaid will suit their lifestyle choices.

Lindsey Kirk is Director of LTC Sales for GamePlan Financial Marketing. She can be reached at lkirk@gameplanfinancial.com or by calling 800-886-4757.