Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ethical Conundrum: Medicaid Planning

Received an email this morning with this provocative subject line:

"Medicaid planning: Should your advice be best for your clients or society at large?"

It's a legitimate question, and one that we haven't previously explored. Roccy DeFrancesco's email included a link to his more fleshed out version. In a nutshell, the question is whether or not it's ethical to find and use "loopholes" to take one's assets off the table when calculating Medicaid spend-down strategies.

He starts with this premise:

"The duty of any advisor is to do what’s in the client’s best interest, and any personal biases about the advice given needs to be left at home."

Along the way, he poses some pretty tough questions, including whether or not it's immoral to advise clients on proper Medicaid planning. The bottom line is that there's an inherent conflict between protecting one's assets while simultaneously pleading poverty.

It's not an easy call, and it's exacerbated by something which Mr DeFrancesco appears to have missed: Long Term Care Partnership Plans. After all, the Partnership Program is really just the government saying "hey, buy some insurance and you can hide protect some of your assets."

Is this ethical?

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