Medicaid isn’t the easiest federal program to navigate. A Certified Medicaid Planner (CMP) can help. A CMP has expert-level experience with Medicaid program and can help people navigate both current and new Medicaid rules. If you need help planning for future health care expenses, a financial advisor could guide you in creating a financial plan for your needs. Let’s break down what a CMP could do for you.
What Is a Certified Medicaid Planner (CMP)?
Even if you have a basic understanding, rules and guidelines for Medicaid change, and a Certified Medicaid Planner can help. A CMP is a professional in the Medicaid field who is certified by the Certified Medicaid Planning Governing Board. The certification is earned after passing a final certification exam. Every three years, CMPs are required to complete 20 continuing education hours.
You might find a CMP among:
- Certified public accountants (CPAs)
- Financial advisors, including CFPs, stockbrokers, investment advisors, and insurance and annuity agents
- Medicaid planning and elder law attorneys
- Nursing home staff
- Social workers
- Geriatric care workers
A CMP’s goal is to give you the most cost-effective and legal plan that’s the best fit for your Medicaid situation. Not everyone’s Medicaid path is the same. A CMP should help you navigate your specific Medicaid strategy as well as implementing that strategy. Medicaid isn’t one-size-fits-all, and what someone else qualifies for might not be the best fit for you.
After you and your CMP have developed your tailor-made Medicaid plan, they can even submit your application on your behalf or help you with any Medicaid-related issues going forward.
One of the biggest focuses of a CMP is to plan for long-term care through Medicaid. Though the program is exceptionally complex, it’s still a government-funded program with benefits. Navigating life on your own or helping a loved one is enough work, which is why having a CMP help you throughout the process is a benefit to your planning.
Certified Medicaid Planner Requirements
The rules and regulations to becoming a CMP are stringent and not everyone qualifies. For instance, you’ll need either:
- A Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree plus two years of full-time experience in one or more Medicaid-related fields, like law, finance, and social work. And these must’ve been done within the last six years;
- A Juris Doctorate or Master’s degree in accounting, social work, or health financing;
- Four years of full-time experience in one or more Medicaid-related planning fields that occurred within the last six years;
- Received professional securities license or licenses for life and health insurance in at least one state, or a CFP designation, along with two years of full-time experience in one or more Medicaid-related fields within the last six years.
The minimum experience requirement includes working in at least one of the following fields:
- Medicaid program administration
- Care management or social work
As mentioned earlier, a CMP must be certified by the Certified Medicaid Planning Governing Board. Candidates must pass a final certification exam. Once certified, a CMP must complete 20 hours of continuing education every three years. They also pay $250 every three years to renew their certification.
How to Find a CMP
If you’re on the hunt for a Certified Medicaid Planner, you’ll need to know how to find one.
You can use the CMP Board’s CMP locator to find one near you. Put in your zip code and see which ones are available where you live. You can also use the American Council on Aging’s form to find a Medicaid planner.
A good rule is to look for someone that has the “CMP” designation in their name, title, or signature. But you’ll still need to do your due diligence since not everyone who uses the CMP designation has earned their status. If you’re unsure of someone is a CMP or want to verify they are who they say they are, you can use FINRA’s Verify a CMP tool. You’ll put in your details as well as those of the person you want to check out. Once you submit your request, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) will get back to you within a business day to verify your request.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family for recommendations. Since CMPs can come in many different variations, consider asking lawyers, accountants, social workers, or other care management professionals for recommendations. While you may not know someone personally, others may have someone they know who can help you out.
If you’ve used a CMP who you believe violated their ethical duties, you can submit a grievance to the CMP Board for review. Other issues, like fee disputes, don’t count towards ethical violations and should not be submitted.
Going through the maze of Medicaid isn’t the easiest task, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to navigate it alone. Finding a Certified Medicaid Planner gives you the chance not only to learn what you’re eligible for, but it’s someone who can tailor a plan that’s best for you.
Consider asking for help, especially with a complex system like Medicaid. It’s better to have assistance and get it right than do it yourself and risk getting it wrong. A CMP works to get it right, the first time, just for you.
- A financial advisor can help you plan for future medical expenses. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- While Medicare and Medicaid sound very similar, they’re not quite the same. Make sure you know the differences before reaching out to an expert.
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