One of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This means a tremendous financial price. Careful planning, whether in advance or once a person is in a nursing home, can help protect your estate, or the healthy members of your family. This can be done by purchasing long-term care insurance; making sure you receive the benefits you are entitled to under Medicare or through the Veterans Administration and Medicaid programs.
Even though Medicaid is a needs based program, there are many strategies that can be used legally to restructure your assets so you do not have to “spend down your life savings” and still qualify for Medicaid benefits.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides medical assistance to various individuals over 65 years of age, as well as those who are blind or disabled in any way. Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in the State of Ohio. It is the last resort for people who have no other way to finance their long-term care. Although Medicaid eligibility rules vary from state to state (and even county to county in Ohio) federal minimum standards and guidelines must be observed.
In addition to meeting state medical and financial criteria for nursing home care, your assets and monthly income must each fall below certain levels to qualify for Medicaid. However, several assets, which may include your family home and a certain amount of income, may be exempt of not counted. In fact the Medicaid laws are like the tax laws you can seek the advice of expert and pay less or you can do nothing and pay much more.
The best time to plan is when you are still healthy. But in those caseswhen planning was not done and the person is about to enter or is already in a nursing home, assets can still be protected. There are limited strategies that can help you to qualify for Medicaid in a short timeframe.
Social workers or admittance personnel at the nursing home can be a great resource to assist people in simple situations where an individual does not have assets to protect. They know about the Medicaid program, but may not know the particular rule/s that applies in your case or the newer changes in the law. If you need to reposition assets to care for the spouse that is not in the nursing home, or to pass on to the healthy members of your family, then it is best to consult with an experienced Medicaid Planning group.
Assets of the spouse and the applicant are counted in determining financial eligibility. It does not matter in whose name the account is titled. However, there are strategies that can be used for married couples to allow the applicant to qualify almost immediately.
When it comes to knowing these strategies, it is best to consult with qualified professionals who can advise you on the entire situation. There are many planning options to consider; the use of trusts, transfers of assets, purchase of annuities, PSA agreements, increased income and resource allowances for the healthy spouse. What you learn could mean better care for you or your loved one, as well as significant financial savings. In fact, the Medicaid laws are like the tax laws. You can see the advice of experts and take maximum advantage of the law and pay less or you can do nothing and pay more.
We also consult on the following issues:
- Nursing Home Issues
- Assisted Living Options
- Veterans Benefits