When our family gets together, we play table games: you know, all the classics like Sorry, Clue, Chess, Checkers, Pente, Othello, Uno, Pit.
Sometimes we throw in Pictionary or Crokinole. And, of course, we are keeping our eyes out for new games that involve a bit of skill or strategy.
But when we are trying a NEW GAME, somebody has to read the rules and be able to explain them to the group. To get started, everyone has to know the basics:
What is the Goal?
How do you WIN?
How do you set up the board?
How do you take your turn? And then . . .
What is one basic strategy?
After you get started, then you explain MORE of the rules, when somebody has that option.
Or if somebody is getting creative, you have to go back to the rules and find out what is allowed and what is not.
That reminds me of my years working in the Long-Term Care Medicaid office.
Our office of about 10 employees reviewed worked on every case in the whole state that involved Nursing Home Care, Residential Assisted Living, Memory Care, and In-home care.
It’s been about 7 years since I first started helping families reduce their Nursing Home bills.
As my knowledge and experience increased, I became something of the “go-to” guy in the office. You know, the one that will read the rules and explain them to others.
I worked on special projects and explored problems with the Medicaid policy and processes.
I proposed policy updates and streamlined our work - even receiving annual awards for improvements for the team.
I trained new workers and explained Elder-Care Medicaid policy to co-workers, Nursing Homes, attorneys, and families.
I tested, tweaked, and reviewed every single aspect of what it takes to qualify for Long-Term Care Medicaid.
However, there was ONE BIG PROBLEM . . .
My supervisor heard me talking on the phone to a family, explaining some of the special rules that would allow the family to save money. Later I was called to her office, and she told me:
John, you can’t coach the customer on how to save money . . . they might decide to tell a lie and commit fraud.
WHAT! I can’t tell people how they can legally save money? I can’t even ask about some exceptions to the rules unless THEY bring it up first? That makes no sense.
I felt terrible because it just was NOT RIGHT that people were spending thousands of dollars of their life savings when they didn’t need to.
Now let me be clear. I don’t encourage ANYONE to commit fraud to qualify for Medicaid.
Medicaid has deeper pockets and a swarm of employees to review and examine cases, specifically looking for fraud.
So, everything we do we are very up-front about it and actually SHOW it to Medicaid.
But trying to “play the game” without knowing the rules?
That would be like grabbing some big kid in Kindergarten and telling him to play basketball with the high-school team.
He only knows the goal is to put the ball in the hoop.
He doesn’t know how to dribble.
He doesn’t know about “fouls”
. . . or “travelling”
. . . or “over-and-back
. . . or “double-dribble”
. . . or free throws
. . . or any of the other rules of the game.
How could families play the MEDICAID game, without know the rules?
And this is a costly game – if you miss a deadline or make a mistake, it costs you about $9000/ month!
Finally, I had had enough. I QUIT that job at the Medicaid office and started my own Medicaid Coaching program.
I can now coach ANY person or couple on what it will take to qualify for Nursing Home Medicaid, no matter their income level, their money in the bank, or the assets they may own.
I can even show Couples how to preserve VIRTUALLY ALL their assets and still qualify ONE of them for Medicaid Assistance.
Often, even a single person can give part of their life-savings to their children or favorite charity and still be on the path for Medicaid assistance later.
So now I’m curious . . .
Have you ever tried to play the Medicaid game without knowing the rules?
How did that turn out? I’d love to hear from you.