Medicaid planning can be a very important part of your plan for aging. This is because Medicaid pays for long-term care, and most seniors will need it at some point in time. The Medicare program does not pay for long-term care. Medicare does cover costs associated with convalescence after an illness or an accident, but it does not cover custodial care. This is the type of care that you would receive in a nursing home.
Since nursing homes are quite expensive, the lack of coverage is a big problem. For many, the solution is Medicaid. This government health insurance program will pay for custodial care.
Qualifying for Medicaid can be challenging, because there is a $2000 limit on countable assets. This program is intended for people with financial need, and this is why the limit is in place.
To qualify for Medicaid to help with your long-term care costs, you could give assets that are countable to your family members before you apply.
If you are married and you are applying for Medicaid to pay for long-term care, your spouse could retain ownership of a certain store of assets that are typically considered to be countable without impacting your eligibility status.
In geriatric parlance, the healthy spouse who can continue to live independently is referred to as the community spouse There is a Medicaid Community Spouse Resource Allowance. This equates to half of the shared assets that are countable, so this is a big benefit. However, there is a limit. We practice law in the state of North Dakota, and in our state, the maximum Medicaid Community Spouse Resource Allowance in 2015 is $119,220.
There is also a minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance. A healthy spouse could keep no less than $23,844 of the shared countable assets, even if this is more than half of the total.
We should also point out the fact that your spouse can remain in your home without any equity limit. The home is not a countable asset, but there is an equity limit that would enter the picture if you were single. This equity limit is $552,000 in North Dakota during the current calendar year.
The healthy or community spouse is also entitled to a Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance. This allows the healthy spouse to continue to use income that is due to the institutionalized spouse. The amount of this allowance in 2015 is $2,267 per month.
Free Medicaid Planning Consultation
If you would like to obtain detailed information about Medicaid planning, our firm would be glad to help. We can answer all of your questions and help you put a plan in place if you decide to take action.
To schedule a free consultation, send us a message through our contact page: Grand Forks ND Elder Law Attorneys.