How to Protect Your Assets from a Nursing Home FAQ
There are some important questions to consider when there is a chance that you will be in a nursing home in the years to come. You want to make sure your assets are protected completely.
1: How much do nursing homes cost?
Based on recent studies, the average stay in a nursing home is around two years. The nursing home costs about $80,000-144,000 per year depending on the state with which you reside. The states with higher costs of living tend to have more expensive nursing home care, but even within each state there is a range depending on the quality of facility.
2: Will Medicare pay for the cost of the nursing home?
Medicare does not pay any nursing home expenses. Medicare in home nursing care coverage is available, but the only time Medicare will remit a payment is if the individual is placed in a skilled nursing facility.
3: Medicaid application: What government program will pay for the nursing home?
When applying for Medicaid you must understand that if you have sufficient assets to pay for nursing home care yourself, no government agency or program will pay for your nursing home care expenses. Medicaid is a government program that will pay for most of the expenses if you have already spent your money and have run out. If you are a veteran, you may get additional benefits that will help with the expenses.
4: How to apply for Medicaid: How can I avoid being impoverished due to the high nursing home costs?
This will largely depend on your marital status as well as your planning prior to entering a nursing home. Another determining factor is whether you are already in a nursing home or anticipate a long stay. Unless you are facing a lengthy stay, it is recommended you do not give away your assets. Giving away or gifting your assets will likely cause you to be denied Medicaid coverage. If you were to gift or divest your assets to your children within 5 years of entering a nursing home and you apply for Medicaid online or off, you will be denied coverage until the money is returned. The real problem comes in when the children spend the money and do not have it to give back in a situation like this one.
One way to reduce the cost of nursing home care is to live in a state where nursing home care is less expensive. For instance, in Texas, Medicaid nursing home care costs are less than in New York. Yet another example would be in Florida, Medicaid nursing home care costs are less than in California.
5: If my spouse is going into a nursing home, can their assets be transferred to me and then qualify for Medicaid?
This will probably not happen. All non-exempt assets owned by the couple are added together to determine your eligibility for Medicaid. The spouse that is going into the nursing home is disqualified from receiving Medicaid until the individual spouses’ assets total $2,000 or less. The other spouse can retain their non-excludible assets to a maximum of around $100,000 (it changes annually). States have different laws pertaining to Medicaid eligibility. It is best to check with your state to learn what the qualifying factors are.
Some assets are exempt and others are not. You have one opportunity at submitting an application form to Medicaid. Do not submit it until it has been reviewed by an expert – it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
States typically offer online forms that you may download and print, however no states allow you to currently apply for Medicaid online.
6: Medicaid income eligibility requirements: How much income can I make and still qualify for Medicaid?
The requirement is that you are over the age of 64 years and earn less than $1,700 a month. It is possible to qualify if you earn more than this amount, depending on the cost of the nursing home. The spouse of the individual receiving Medicaid benefits is allowed up to $2,300 of income per month. These figures change annually, so be sure to stay up to date on what the actual qualification requirements are.
Read part two of this two-part series on protecting your assets from nursing home and Medicaid asset protection: Protect Assets: Medicaid Income Eligibility