Indeed, it can be disconcerting to consider a time when you may not be able to take care of all of your own needs by yourself. At the same time, a challenging situation can be all the worse if you are totally unprepared.
First of all, you should understand the fact that it is likely that you will need living assistance of some kind before everything is said and done. Seven out of every 10 seniors will someday need long-term care according to the government website LongTermCare.gov. Many elders will ultimately reside in nursing homes.
Nursing home care is extremely expensive, and costs have been rising year-by-year. We practice law in Grand Forks, North Dakota. According to a comprehensive study that is being conducted by Genworth Financial, the median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home in our area is a whopping $104,313.
Things will probably get worse before they get better. The Genworth survey predicts an 11 percent annual growth in long-term care costs over the next five years.
The Medicaid Solution
For many seniors, the long-term care solution is Medicaid. This government program does pay for long-term care. There are a few basic things that you need to know if you are interested in qualifying for Medicaid to pay for living assistance.
For a single Medicaid applicant, the limit on countable assets is $2000, but there are things that you own that are not counted. One vehicle is not counted, and your home (with an equity limit of $552,000) is not a countable asset.
Personal belongings and wedding and engagement rings are not countable, and your household effects would not be counted by Medicaid evaluators.
If there is a healthy spouse who can continue to live independently after his or her spouse enters a long-term care facility, the healthy spouse is entitled to a Community Spouse Resource Allowance. This would be equal to half of the shared countable assets, but there is a limit of $119,220 in 2015.
The healthy spouse could also continue to draw from income that is brought in by the spouse who is entering a nursing home. Under other circumstances, most of the income would go toward the cost of the care that is being received.
You could give countable assets to family members before you apply for Medicaid. However, there is a 60 month look-back. The gift giving must be completed at least five years before you submit your application. If this rule is violated, your eligibility for Medicaid coverage would be delayed.
To learn more about Medicaid planning, download our special report. The report is free, and you can click the following link to access your copy: Grand Forks ND Medicaid Planning.