Can I Keep Assets and Still Be Eligible for Medicaid?

POSTED ON: June 15, 2021

The bill for long-term care adds up fast. The annual median cost for a private room in a nursing home was $105,850 in 2020, according to Genworth. The government could pick up these costs if you qualify for Medicaid, but that’s easier said than done.

Can I Keep Assets and Still Be Eligible for Medicaid?

Medicaid is a welfare program with strict income and wealth limits to qualify, explains Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “You Can Keep Some Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid. Here’s How.” This is a different program from Medicare, the national health insurance program for people 65 and over that largely doesn’t cover long-term care.

If you can afford your own care (in Louisiana starting at roughly $5,500 or more per month for nursing home care), you’ll have more options because all facilities don’t take Medicaid. Keep in mind that $5,500 per month is a rough minimum for very rural parts of the state, and costs go up from there.  The vast majority of Louisiana residents cannot afford such a high price tag.  Louisiana residents with ample savings may deplete all their wealth for a long stay in a nursing home. However, you can save some assets for a spouse or heirs and still qualify for Medicaid using strategies from an Elder Law or Medicaid Planning Attorney.

If you are single, when it comes to assets you can keep for Medicaid, you can only have a house, a car, a burial policy or plot, non-luxury personal belongings, and $2,000 worth of cash or other assets.  When it comes to income, you can only keep $38 of your income per month.  This is where the phrase “nursing home poverty” comes from.

Despite these dire numbers, keep in mind that there is reason for optimism if you plan ahead.  There is what is called the 5-year “lookback period”.  But even then, even if you have not planned ahead, tweaks can be made to your savings and you income to get the best result for you and your family.

Advanced strategies are designed to protect assets or income for couples or their heirs.  If you fail to plan, once you and your spouse pass away, the state government must recover Medicaid costs from your estate, when possible. This may be through a lien on your home or seizing assets during the probate process, before they’re distributed to your family.

If you would like to discuss your options, please BOOK A CALL with Ted to discuss about getting qualified earlier than you may have expected.

If you liked this article, “Can I Keep Assets and Still Be Eligible for Medicaid?”, you might also want to read these other articles on estate planning: Is My Will Void If I Get Divorced? and What Items Should Not Be in a Safe Deposit Box? and How Does Medicaid Count Assets? and Estate Planning for Special Needs Children

Reference: Kiplinger (May 24, 2021) “You Can Keep Some Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid. Here’s How”


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