The Medicaid planning may seem like something that is not going to be important for you if you are going to retire with resources as a Medicare recipient. The reason why Medicaid is in fact relevant to many elders is because Medicare does not pay for long-term care, but Medicaid will pick up the tab.
Long-term care is very expensive, and most elders will need it eventually, so this is a very pressing issue within the elder law community.
Medicaid is a need-based program, so the limit on countable assets for an individual is just $2000. People who were never poor aim toward eligibility through a process called a Medicaid spend down. You could give assets to your loved ones so that you have very little left in your own name when you apply for Medicaid coverage.
This brings up an interesting question: If you are married and you need long-term care, what about your spouse? Does this $2000 limit on countable assets apply to the healthy spouse as well?
The answer to this question is no. The Medicaid program refers to the healthy spouse as the community spouse. There is a Community Spouse Resource Allowance, and this allows the healthy spouse to retain ownership of half of the shared countable assets.
However, there is a limit. The maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance in North Dakota in 2015 is $119,220.
There is also a minimum allowance of $23,844. As we mentioned previously, the healthy spouse can keep half of the shared countable assets. However, because of this minimum, if $2844 is more than half, the community spouse can still keep this amount.
Under Medicaid rules, if you are single and you are applying for coverage to pay for long-term care, most of your income would go toward the cost of the care. However, if you are a married person who is entering a long-term care facility and you have a healthy spouse that is still capable of independent living, your spouse could continue to draw from your income if it is needed.
This is called the Medicaid Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance. During the current calendar year, the allowance is $2267 per month.
The healthy spouse may also continue to live in the home that was shared by the couple, and there is no equity limit.
Medicaid Planning Consultation
Medicaid can provide a much-needed financial solution if you need long-term care late in your life. If you understand the program rules and regulations and take the right steps in advance, you can potentially obtain eligibility while keeping a maximum store of assets in the family.
We can help if you would like to learn more. Our firm offers free consultations, and you can send us a message through this page to set up an appointment: Grand Forks ND Elder Law Attorneys.