The expense of long-term elderly care often costs more than most families have available. Instead of relying on life savings or home equity, Medicaid is available to pay for this resource. However, Medicaid only provides long-term nursing home coverage to low-income older adults.
With proper planning, applicants do not need to spend down their assets to receive Medicaid. Knowing the answers to these frequently asked questions can help everyone access these benefits.
Why should seniors plan for Medicaid?
When people apply for Medicaid, the office not only evaluates an applicant’s current assets but also looks back for five years. Gifts and transfers to trusts count towards an applicant’s total assets if those transactions occurred less than five years before the application. Anticipating this five-year look-back period allows seniors to move assets before the reviewable period.
What assets are exempt as resources?
Medicaid allows applicants to have assets of up to $2000.00. Additionally, applicants may have:
- Primary residences up to $636,000.00
- Life insurance policies with a cash value of up to $10,000
- Burial plots and prepaid funeral fees
- One automobile
Spouses can also receive income that does not go against the applicant’s asset evaluation.
Does Medicaid require repayment of benefits?
When the Medicaid recipient dies, the program can attempt to recover the funds paid out for care. Many times, the recipient’s home is the only item of value. However, if a spouse or adult child still lives in the home, the state can not use the home to collect the debt.
Medicaid is an excellent resource to help cover the cost of long-term nursing home care. The program is available to many people with proper planning.