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You might be under the impression that the only way to qualify for Medicaid is to deplete your assets paying for care. Well, we have some good news for you—there is a better way. Medicaid planning involves working with an elder law attorney to rearrange assets using legal strategies that allow you to preserve your hard-earned savings while also staying within Medicaid’s strict rules.
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Unfortunately, many seniors believe they will never require long-term care and, therefore, fail to plan ahead. Plus, most people incorrectly believe Medicare can be used to pay the nursing home. In reality, Medicare only provides coverage in some long-term care situations, and these benefits expire after just 100 days, leaving you to privately pay for care.
That’s where Medicaid comes in.
Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps cover healthcare costs for individuals and families with limited income and resources. It provides assistance for multiple groups of people, including the elderly, blind, and disabled. In fact, Medicaid pays for over 60% of long-term care costs in the United States. In the context of long-term care, Medicaid will cover the entire cost of care, including room, board, pharmacy, and incidentals, minus a small co-pay in some cases.
In order to qualify for benefits, you must meet Medicaid’s strict eligibility requirements, which vary by state. Since each state runs its own Medicaid program, it’s important for you to follow the specific rules in your state. But don’t worry—when we connect you with an elder law attorney in your area, they will be well-versed on the Medicaid rules you’ll need to follow.
Fortunately, some basic Medicaid requirements are standard across most states, so we can walk through the basic non-financial and financial criteria.
To meet the non-financial requirements for Medicaid as it pertains to long-term care, you must be:
Since Medicaid is a means-based program, your income and assets must be below certain limitations before you can qualify. Again, the specific limitations vary by state. In most states, however, the Medicaid recipient’s income must be less than the cost of the nursing home. With most bills running $8,000/month or more, most seniors easily meet this requirement.
When it comes to assets, the rules are a bit more complex. A single person can typically keep about $2,000 in countable assets and still qualify for Medicaid. For married couples, however, the ill spouse is limited to the $2,000 allowance in most cases, but the healthy spouse is able to keep a much larger amount. This allowance varies greatly by state but can exceed $100,000 in many cases.
Although you might be tempted to simply give away your assets in order to fall below these asset requirements, Medicaid has rules against this. When you apply for benefits, the state Medicaid agency will look back over your finances from the last five years for any gifts or divestments. If they find any, you will be subject to a penalty period of ineligibility based on the amount gifted.
When it comes to Medicaid planning, nursing home operators and social workers are simply unable to provide the right advice. This leads many seniors to believe the only way they can meet Medicaid’s requirements is by spending all of their hard-earned money on the nursing home bill.
We’re here to tell you this simply isn’t true. You have options.
Medicaid’s rules and requirements are complex, and they can be confusing for seniors and loved ones who are just looking for a way to stop the financial bleeding. That’s why it’s so important for you to work with a knowledgeable legal professional you can trust.
That's why you should give us a call today at Senior Care Counsel.
The first step in the Medicaid planning process is examining your assets. Medicaid separates an individual’s assets between countable and exempt. While countable assets count toward the asset limitations, exempt assets do not. Here are some of the most common countable and exempt assets.
After evaluating you or your loved one’s assets, the next step is to spend down the excess countable assets to be within Medicaid’s asset limitations. This can be done using a variety of strategies, including buying or upgrading exempt assets and purchasing certain insurance products designed for Medicaid planning.
The result? Protected savings and accelerated Medicaid eligibility.
Take a deep dive into the long-term care landscape, find out how you can protect your hard-earned assets, and get answers to your most pressing planning questions.GET MY COPY
Fact: The cost of leaving your assets unprotected far outweighs the cost of an elder law attorney. Plus, when you book with us, your first consultation with an attorney is free!
Fact: Any savings is worth protecting. Even if you have less than $30,000, you deserve to preserve your nest egg for your spouse or children or as an inheritance for future generations.
Fact: Although Medicaid has asset limitations, you do NOT have to be poor to qualify. You can utilize Medicaid planning solutions to preserve what you have worked so hard for your entire life.
Fact: Yes, Medicaid has rules about giving money away. But that doesn’t mean you can only spend your money on care before you qualify for benefits. Medicaid planning provides other options to spend down your hard-earned savings while also protecting it.
Fact: As long as you still have a portion of savings, it’s never too late to plan. Even if you or a loved one is already in the nursing home, there is a Medicaid planning solution for you.