The Medicaid application process is notoriously overwhelming and beginning to gather the information that will be required can be daunting. Whether applying for Medicaid in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the caseworker assigned to the file will request to review five years’ worth of bank statements with accompanying documentation. This requirement, known as the “five-year lookback”, is unavoidable and can be an intimidating roadblock. As Public Benefits Coordinator for Rothkoff Law Group, I have been assisting clients with the Medicaid process for almost six years. Below are three tips for working with your bank for a smoother Medicaid application process.
3 Tips for Making the Medicaid Application Process Easier
- Bring Extra Copies of the POA
If you will be accessing bank information by acting as agent under a power of attorney (POA), I recommend contacting the bank and request that the POA be put on file. Once the Medicaid application is submitted and the caseworker begins to review documents, it is very common to have to contact the bank again to request more detailed or updated information. Having another copy of the POA available during each visit is helpful just in case the bank misplaces a document or cannot access their system. This preparation can save time and unnecessary trips back to the bank.
- Bank Locally
Whether you are working with a large, nationwide financial institution or a locally run credit union, developing relationships at your local branch can prove invaluable. Most large banks provide a toll-free number to their customers for document requests. However, many of these hubs are run by call centers that are separate from the bank themselves, making for a confusing and sometimes misleading experience. I recommend calling or visiting the local branch first to see if you can develop a relationship with a branch manager or teller who can point you in the right direction. Many times, these employees can access a smaller amount of statements or check copies, saving you hours on hold waiting for a representative.
- Suggest Online Delivery
Depending on the number of bank accounts open during the past five years, bank statements and check copies can add up quickly into the hundreds or thousands of pages. Because of the hours and printing power required to gather this amount of paperwork, some banks have regulations in place to require that they charge for this time, for materials, and, when necessary, for shipping. Suggesting that the bank documents be delivered via secure email or web-based cloud software can save banks time and money. When this option is available, it can help to expedite and simplify the process.
The above tips should help make the complicated, document intensive Medicaid application process easier.
by Kaitlin Dirkx, Director of Public Benefits for Rothkoff law Group
Note: Contact us to learn more about how to make the Medicaid application process easier. We have recently instituted a LiveChat feature for our clients and prospects to better connect with us from a distance.