Many residents of the Milwaukee area can probably guess that nursing homes and other assisted living facilities are expensive.

According to one source, the average cost of a nursing home stay in Wisconsin is $4,300 a month. However, the cost varies widely depending on where in the state the nursing facility is located. In some communities, the average cost approaches $5,000 a month.

Needless to say, even people who have been able to accumulate some modest savings can quickly see it all spent on nursing home care within a matter of a couple of years.

In a very real sense, nursing home care is unaffordable for many hardworking Wisconsin residents.

The idea behind Medicaid planning is to allow Wisconsin residents to qualify for Medicaid,  which is designed to provide medical care to those who have no means to pay for it, while keeping at least some of their hard-earned money to pass down to their loved ones.

The reason people would want to qualify for Medicaid is that the program will pay for nursing home stays. Medicare, the government plan for all people over retirement age, does not provide the same level of coverage, and private long-term care insurance is expensive.

The goal of Medicaid planning is two-fold. First, a person has to have a limited income and limited wealth in order to qualify for the program in the first place.

Medicaid planning is a legal means where people will give away, invest or otherwise spend their money so they can qualify for the program when they need it.

Also, the federal Medicaid program will try to recover its costs after a nursing home patient dies by filing a claim against the person’s estate and taking other steps. Proper Medicaid planning can ensure that loved ones legally receive as much of their inheritance as possible.