Long-Term Planning

Q:  Is my mother eligible for Medicaid since she is in a nursing home and only has $2,000 in the bank?

A:  Medicaid eligibility is more complicated that just spending your mother's assets down to $2,000. A Medicaid applicant must demonstrate that no uncompensated transfers have been made, provide substantial proof of assets and income, and show that Mom has a need for long-term care.

Q: Does Medicaid pay for assisted living facility care?

A: Generally, no.  Medicaid generally only pays for nursing home care.  Medicaid may, depending on the circumstances, pay for some limited in-home care.

Q: Do nursing home residents who are “private pay” receive better care than residents who are on Medicaid?

A: No.  Under federal law, nursing homes cannot discriminate based on Medicaid eligibility, as long as they participate in the Medicaid program.  Almost all nursing homes participate in the Medicaid program.

Q: If my father must go to a nursing home, does my mother have to spend all of their money and resources before my father can become eligible for Medicaid?

A: No.  With proper planning, your mother, the Community Spouse, can protect her standard of living.  However, one must consult with an elder law attorney to determine how much of the assets and income she can keep while her husband is on Medicaid.

Q: My mother, a widow, requires nursing home care.  Must she spend all of her money before she can be eligible for Medicaid?

A: Your mother can have no more than $2,000 in countable resources and no outstanding penalty periods to be eligible for Medicaid.  But, with proper planning often substantial assets can be protected, even for an unmarried person.

Q: Is Medicaid only for the elderly?

A: No, numerous Medicaid programs are available to assist with medical expenses for the non-elderly disabled.  However, similar to the financial requirements for the Medicaid programs for the elderly, very strict financial requirements apply.