Ask A Pro: If I go to the Nursing Home and Apply for Medicaid, Do I Lose Everything?


A:  NO

The costs of privately paying for nursing home care can be high.  Short-term rehabilitation stays are often covered by Medicare.  However, long-term nursing home stays are not.  Many seniors need assistance in paying for the costs of long-term nursing home care and they turn to Medicaid for assistance.

There is a common misconception that in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, the applicant must first completely deplete his or her assets by paying for care. Another common misconception is that an applicant must give his or her assets to the government in order to be eligible for Medicaid.  Neither are true.

The category of Medicaid benefits that covers nursing home care for the elderly is very different than other categories of Medicaid benefits.  For instance, seniors in nursing homes who are applying for Medicaid can have much higher income and still qualify.  There are also options that allow seniors to protect some of their assets and still qualify for assistance.

For married couples, if one spouse needs nursing home care, then many of the assets that the married couple have can be protected for the benefit of the healthy spouse at home.  Real estate, a vehicle, tangible personal property, life insurance with no cash value, and qualified retirement accounts owned by the healthy spouse can all be made exempt.  In addition, there are options for protecting most liquid assets for the benefit of the spouse at home.

For single individuals who are in need of assistance paying for their long-term care, there are still many options for protecting some of the assets that they have acquired.

Medicaid benefits are complicated, but with the right guidance and planning, seniors do not have to lose everything that they have worked for in order to qualify.

If you or a loved one may be in need of nursing home care, or are already privately paying for nursing home care, contact the attorneys at Voelz, Reed, & Mount, LLC and let our knowledgeable staff walk you through your options so that you can get the benefits that you deserve without losing everything that you have worked for.


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