Medicaid Planning

MEDICAID PLANNING IN KANSAS CITY

The customized plan you need— with the lawyers you trust.

Rusty Fracassa and the staff at Paths Law Firm serving Kansas City are the most compassionate, attentive, and experienced elder law planners and advocates in the KC metro area.

We offer multiple office locations for your convenience. We can also meet at your home, the hospital, or a nursing home for those less able to visit our office. Meeting with clients on Saturdays to accommodate their schedule is just one of the perks of working with us.

The Issue and Planning for Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides financing for medical treatment for those unable to afford to pay. Medicaid covers physicians’ services, hospital care, supplies and other required services once a person has been made eligible for the program. It also covers the costs of nursing home care for the elderly.

Each state administers its own Medicaid program independently. While the basic eligibility requirements are the similar across the United States, there are substantial variances between the Medicaid programs of each state. In spite of these variations, eligibility is often determined by a combination of a person’s assets and income. State Medicaid offices decide eligibility, and in the case of married applicants, both spouses’ assets and income are considered.

It is essential to differentiate Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is an insurance program that pays for the medical expenses of those aged 65 and older and some individuals with disabilities. All adults 65 and older, regardless of financial means or income, are eligible for Medicare. Medicare and Medicare supplementary insurance, however, give extremely little reimbursement for the expense of nursing home long-term care. Unless the individual has coverage under a long-term care insurance policy, these non-covered services must be paid privately by the individual. Medicaid, on the other hand, covers for medical requirements for persons of any age that have been proven to be qualified. In reality, a Medicare recipient with little income and assets may also qualify for Medicaid benefits.

What You Need to Know

Medicaid is regarded as one of the most complex laws in the United States, and the situation is further complicated by the fact that each state has its own version of Medicaid. Numerous Elder Law Attorneys are able to assist clients because they have researched the Medicaid statutes and regulations thoroughly.

Medicare does not cover the costs of long-term care for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or paralysis resulting from a stroke, thus Medicaid is frequently important to middle-income Americans. The majority of people who require long-term care will eventually exhaust their assets and be unable to pay for their care.

Medicaid is then available to pay the difference between their income and the actual costs of nursing home care, including room and board, medical treatment, hospital care, and all other reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Medicaid supports the costs of such care in nursing homes, adult care homes, hospices, and, where necessary, the individual’s own home.

If you anticipate incurring such long-term care bills, you should be aware of the following rules:

In assessing eligibility for Medicaid payment of long-term care expenses, the eligibility team will evaluate the individual’s actual need for care, the individual’s available resources (including life insurance and retirement plans), and the individual’s total income. In some places, if an individual’s monthly income exceeds a specific threshold, he or she is ineligible for Medicaid, even if long-term care expenses outweigh income.
In evaluating eligibility, a person’s recent charitable contributions will disqualify them from Medicaid.
The assets and income of both spouses are evaluated when evaluating eligibility for one spouse, regardless of premarital agreements, community property rules, or the nature of asset ownership.
However, married couples’ assets are treated differently so that the spouse who remains at home is not unjustly impoverished. Such a community spouse is entitled to retain one-half of the couple’s accessible assets (up to a federally-established maximum) and a minimum amount of the couple’s income in order to cover domestic support expenses (See below for details on Division of Assets).
In addition, there are resources that are not considered when determining eligibility; they include the family home, household goods, a vehicle, a pre-paid funeral fund, and other necessities.
Before applying for Medicaid, it is essential to understand the state-specific eligibility requirements and exemptions so that assets are not excessively depleted.
Lastly, it is essential to understand that appeals systems are integrated into the Medicaid system. If you disagree with Medicaid eligibility determinations, care decisions, or placements, there is a procedure for an administrative hearing and even legal action to vindicate your rights.

Source: National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys NAELA.org

Division of Assets

Frequently Asked Questions

Source: Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services www.kdads.ks.gov

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Senior Administrative Assistant

Tressa L. Purdy

Senior Administrative Assistant

Tressa L. Purdy

I am a Kansas City native who has also lived in Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Houston and St. Louis, before returning to the Kansas City area in 2018. I have enjoyed traveling and the knowledge gained from the opportunity of working in a variety of industries in an administrative capacity. I enjoy spending time with my three grown children and grandchild, gardening, scrapbooking, making painted cookies, and Chiefs football.

Administrative Assistant

Laura E. Messer

Administrative Assistant

Laura E. Messer

Laura graduated from Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in 2008. She currently lives in Independence, Missouri.

She is a professional photographer on the weekends where she specializes in all types of portraits.

Laura enjoys science fiction movies and books, hiking with her husband, volunteering for many organizations including the VFW, CASA, nursing homes, Friends of the Friendless, Park Board, Lexington Hope House, and Harvesters.

Laura has been married for 25 years and has a daughter, 24 and a son, 17. She is a very proud mom and wife.

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan Foley at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan graduated from the UMKC School of Law in 2018 and passed the Missouri Bar that year. Prior to law school, Ryan attended the University of Missouri – Columbia where he attained a degree in Business. He is a Kansas City native, growing up in the Northland where he achieved his Eagle Scout rank by doing a project for his high school. During his time in law school, Ryan was introduced to the practice area of Elder Law by one of his professors and has been

Ryan enjoys working with and educating clients to provide advocacy and support during the unfamiliar and often overwhelming probate process. Ryan understands the challenges faced by individuals when faced by the uncertainty and complexity of government systems or even handling a Trust during a time of grief, and he strives to make the process as easy as possible.

Attorney

Kathleen E. Overton

Attorney

Kathleen E. Overton

After starting her career as a disability attorney, Kathleen transitioned into estate planning at a mid-sized regional law firm. Kathleen joined Paths Law Firm in 2021 when she decided to return to a boutique law firm that provides excellent service and quality to clients. Because of her background as a disability attorney, she brings a thorough understanding of public benefits to each client meeting. At Paths Law Firm, Kathleen focuses on traditional estate planning and business entity formation, providing tailored advice unique to each client’s situation.

Medicaid paralegal

Tena K. Dooley

Public Benefits Assistant

Amanda D. Martin

I have my Associates in Applied Science and have over 20 years of office management experience. I have two daughters and one grandson.

During my time away from the office I enjoy spending time with my family.  I enjoy almost everything outdoors and my hobbies include fishing and gardening.

PARALEGAL

Sydney R. Morris

PARALEGAL

Sydney

Sydney is currently enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City pursuing an accounting degree and plans to later attend law school.

In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her nephews and volunteering at her local church.

 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Christy L. Phillips

CLIENT SERVICES MANAGER

Christy L. Phillips

Phone: 816-640-8635
Email: [email protected]

Christy has 3 years of experience in Elder Law working for seniors and their families as a Benefits Coordinator processing Medicaid and VA applications. Prior to joining Paths Law Firm Christy worked in the finance industry for over 10 years.

 

Christy has three years of experience in elder law working for seniors and their families. Prior to joining Paths Law Firm Christy worked in the finance industry for over 10 years. 

Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as the Senior Administrative Assistant. There have been many influences that went into her decision to select the field of Elder Law. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to the relationship she had with her grandparents.

When asked why she loved what she does, Christy said at Paths Law Firm, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite parts of her job are getting to know the clients and helping them get their questions answered.

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has been with her high school sweetheart for 25 years and they have two beautiful children together. Her daughter works in the medical industry, and her son currently attends High School and plays Baseball.

When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and spending time with her family and friends.

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • Missouri Notary

Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as Benefits Coordinator. There have been many influences that went into her decision to select the field of Elder Law. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to her relationship with her grandparents.

When asked why she loves what she does, Christy said that at Paths Elder law, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite part of her job is getting clients approved for Medicaid or VA benefits as it is a huge relief for them and their loved ones.

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has two children that keep her busy and fill her life with joy! Christy’s daughter cheers for Avila University, and her son plays competitive baseball for the Bucks and races BMX locally for the Motorcycle Closeout Team.

When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and making homemade gifts for her loved ones and raising her kids to be healthy, happy, and positive humans.

 

Practice Areas

  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits

 

Professionalc Memberships and Affiliations

  • Missouri Notary

FINANCIAL MANAGER

René A. Fracassa

Rene A. Fracassa, Paths Law

FINANCIAL MANAGER

René

René has worked along side Rusty for 35 years. Not only is she part of the Paths team, she is also his wife. René spends her time working with the accountant to keep all of the finances in order, as well as general office management.

In addition to helping run the office, she helps manage the family and grandkids, tries to keep everyone fed, and has a passion to teach Bible Studies. Her former career in Event Planning trained her to juggle all the activity. She understands Rusty’s passion to serve people from the first mention of law school. It is a great pleasure for her to be an important part of every area of his life.

 

MARKETING MANAGER

Hilary R. Tichota

MARKETING MANAGER

Hilary

Hilary plays a vital role in the daily operations of the office. In addition to her regular office duties, Hilary has a heart of gold.

For more than 5 years, Hilary has operated the front desk at Paths, running the office and catering to clients. Hilary recently moved into the role of Community Relations Coordinator. She has a passion for people and a focus to share our business practices with the community’s seniors, businesses, and clients. She especially has a heart for seniors, showing they are loved through her visits, treats, the “Pen to Pal” program, and volunteering services at various senior living communities. She is a wonderful wife and mother of two. Most activities with seniors involve her great talent for any type of craft.

 

SR. PARALEGAL & OPERATIONS MANAGER

Jennifer A. Bronson

SR. PARALEGAL & OPERATIONS MANAGER

Jennifer

Jennifer has been in the legal field for over 25 years and considers Paths her second home.

When she’s not running the office or working for our clients, she’s spending time with her first passion – her children.

ATTORNEY

Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

ATTORNEY

Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

Phone: 816-640-8635

When asked what he wants to do, his reply was “I just want to sit at the kitchen table and work directly with people.” Rusty enjoys working with clients providing experienced advocacy and supporting them through their unfamiliar and overwhelming situations. Due to all the challenges faced by seniors, it is essential to work with an experienced elder law attorney who has expertise in the law, issues, and concerns affecting seniors and their families.

Rusty brings nearly 30 years legal experience and expertise working for seniors and their families as an elder law attorney in Kansas City and surrounding. Prior to law school, Rusty was a practicing accountant. This provides invaluable experience in his current practice of law. Rusty decided to put his focus on helping the elderly, vulnerable adults, and their families navigate challenging life, end of life, and death events.

Rusty understands the challenges faced by individuals whose capacity is declining and how upsetting the loss of a loved one can be. He understands he may not be able to eliminate his client’s grief from loss, but he strives to provide clients with peace of mind. Rusty works directly with client’s long term care issues, including Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Special Needs Planning.

In 2010, Rusty’s faith and love led him and part of his family to China as Christian missionaries. He and his wife, went permanently, but ended up dedicating 3 years to that ministry. They returned to Missouri to help with grandchildren after a family tragedy and later began anew with Paths Elder Law. The goal is providing compassionate care through legal advocacy.

When Rusty is not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family, grandchildren, and excessive eating at local restaurants.

Practice Areas

  • Wills and Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits
  • Probate
  • Guardianship and Conservatorships
  • Education

 

BSBA and Master’s in Accounting, Master’s in Inter-Cultural Studies, and Doctorate in Juris Prudence

  • Rockhurst University
  • Liberty University
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City


Admissions to Practice

  • Missouri


Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • State Bar of Missouri
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (long-time Member)
  • Elder Counsel (Charter and Ongoing Member)
  • Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (Past Member)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Missouri State Bar Committees – Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate