Qualifying for MedicaidGetting ready for retirement usually means examining Medicare options, downsizing and beginning to budget with retirement funds.  One preparation which may not come to mind is paying for long-term care.  This type of care includes nursing home, hospice, and personal care services and is not covered by Medicare.  While some may have long-term care insurance policies which will pay for these services, those that do not will be left to look to Medicaid for coverage.   However, qualifying for Medicaid requires strict adherence to the program’s requirements.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a federal program which is overseen by the state where the program recipient lives.  This program covers certain medical expenses for individuals who are 65 or older or have other qualifying conditions.

How do you qualify for Medicaid?

Medicaid imposes a limit on the value of personal assets a recipient can have in their possession.  In Michigan, residents can have $2000 in personal assets.  Medicaid does permit recipients to keep certain assets such as their home.  However, the program has several rules about how other assets will be treated for purposes of establishing eligibility.

What is the Look-Back Period?

Medicaid has a five-year look-back period which allows the program to review all of an applicant’s asset transfers which occurred during the five-year-period before they applied.   If it is determined that an applicant gave their assets away in a particular manner, the value of the asset will be calculated in a way which will keep them from being eligible for benefits for a specific number of months.

Does the Program Consider Marital Assets?

A married couple’s assets are considered together even when only one spouse is applying for Medicaid.   The program will examine the couple’s finances beginning on the day the person starts Medicaid services.  It is required that half of the couple’s resources be spent down to allow the applicant to qualify.   In Michigan, the Community Spousal Resource Allowance enables the non-applicant spouse to keep up to $120,900 in countable assets.  However, any amount the couple has beyond this amount will have to be spent.  However, if all that couple has is $24,180 or less, they will be allowed to keep these funds.

Medicaid rules can be complicated, but there are ways you can qualify for the program while protecting your assets at the same time.  To adequately plan for Medicaid, you need to do so early and with the advice of an experienced attorney.  With careful preparation, you can improve your chances of being qualified for the care you need.

Our office has attorneys and other sources who are knowledgeable about Medicaid and can help you understand your choices and make informed decisions.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

Post A Comment