What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is the program that pays for long-term care when a person needs to remain in a nursing home long term. If a person needs short-term rehabilitation in a nursing home, Medicare covers the cost for up to 20 days and even up to 100 if the person has a supplemental insurance policy.
While Medicaid has the connotation of providing services to the poor, most all families, except the very wealthy, need to eventually look to Medicaid to pay long-term nursing home costs because they are so high. Over 2/3 of the residents in a nursing home are receiving Medicaid benefits to help pay for the expenses. The quality of care is not affected by the manner of payment, whether it is Medicaid, private insurance or private pay.
Who is eligible for Medicaid?
What does Medicaid cover?
How much property can I keep?
The general asset limitation for a single person is $1,500 and $2,250 for a couple who are both in a nursing home. The asset rules are much different for a married couple where only one is in a nursing home. In that situation, certain assets like the marital home and care will be exempt. The non-exempt assets, like savings, CDs, IRAs and the like, for both spouses are counted and the community spouse can keep ½ — up to around $107,000. Medicaid requires that the rest be spent down to achieve eligibility. However, keep in mind that an experience Elder Law attorney can often preserve much of the additional assets reserves through various strategies.
How much income can I keep?
The rules are much different for a married couple where one is in a nursing home and the other remains living in the community. Medicaid may allocate a portion of the income of the spouse in the nursing home in order to ensure that the minimum family income of $1,750 per month is met. This amount can be increased to about $2,700 if certain conditions are met.
Can I give my property away in order to qualify for Medicaid?
Under the direction of an experienced Elder Law attorney, gifting assets can be an effective tool for preserving some of the assets.