Even those residents of Kentucky who have over their years put together some savings may discover that the cost of staying in a nursing home or other facility will just be too much.

They may also realize the difficult choice they face between providing for their own medical and personal care and leaving a legacy to their loved ones.

For this reason, people may have to count on getting on Medicaid, a government healthcare program for those who cannot afford their own coverage, in order to afford long-term care in a facility. They will need to plan for this prospect and do so with plenty of time to spare.

You cannot simply give away wealth to relatives and expect to qualify for Medicaid

Like other government programs, Medicaid requires people to have a limited income and limited assets. The point of these requirements is to make sure that Medicaid benefits are going to those who need it.

People may be tempted to think that the easy solution is just to give away wealth before they need long-term care so that they can qualify for the Medicaid program.

However, like other states, Kentucky has what is called a look-back rule. Under this rule, Medicaid can deny eligibility to those who gave away assets within the 5 years before applying for the program, even if they otherwise qualify for it.

Specifically, in Kentucky, for every $6,000 given away, Medicaid can impose a 1-month waiting period on benefits.

In other words, someone with no assets but who gave $60,000 to his or her kids 4 years ago will have to figure out some way to pay the nursing home bills for 10 months. Obviously, such circumstances can cause a major financial hardship for a family.

This is one reason why a Kentucky who may need Medicaid in order to cover a nursing home stay should start the process early and do so with the proper professional legal help.