Determining what to do when a loved one requires a higher level of care than he or she can receive at home is a source of worry for many families. The costs of long-term care are substantial and typically unaffordable for families on an out-of-pocket basis. A common result of that scenario is the depletion of assets belonging to the person receiving the care, or his or her spouse or family, in an effort to pay the associated expenses.
For those with limited assets, there are options available through Medicaid for assistance with the costs of long-term care. Medicaid is a health insurance program for which eligibility is determined by income and the assets available to the applicant. The applicant must have less than $2,000.00 in assets to qualify. However, there are a number of exemptions available which are not counted as assets in determining qualification. Also, there are allowances made for a spouse at home to retain funds in order that the spouse does not become impoverished and has sufficient monthly income for necessary expenses.
Sometimes people make the mistake of believing that they must immediately begin spending down assets when they see a nursing home on the horizon. Medicaid takes a “snapshot” of a person’s expenses and income at the time they enter the nursing home for what is believed to be a permanent arrangement. At that time, there is a clear picture of what assets are exempt and what assets can be retained. Sometimes people have paid down assets that they would have otherwise been allowed to keep.
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Qualifying an individual for Medicaid and assessing what action would need to be taken in furtherance of the application can be a challenging process. There are many rules which must be followed. To learn more about considerations with regard to Medicaid planning and the handling of assets, please call the experienced estate planning attorneys at the Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP today. A member of our team can be reached at 712-309-3738 or by online message.