Nursing home Medicaid is a program that provides coverage for those who have a medical need for nursing home. Along for a medical need for nursing home care, applicants for nursing home Medicaid must satisfy the income and asset requirements to receive Medicaid coverage. The level of assets to qualify for Medicaid can be extremely low, as a nonmarried individual can only have $2,000 in noncountable assets to qualify for nursing home Medicaid.
Applicants who have significant assets should consider Medicaid Planning. Medicaid Planning provides a customized plan for reducing assets to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid Planning is recommended for individuals who are more than $40,000 in assets over the asset limit. Medicaid Planning is completed by an experienced elder law attorney who provides the customized plan. Reducing assets for Medicaid planning can be complicated and if spend down of assets is performed incorrectly, the applicant can be ineligible for Medicaid for months or years. For individuals that are less than $40,000 over the asset limit for Medicaid, can consider the spend down techniques.
Funding a burial account: Medicaid applicants can fund a burial fund for up to $10,000. These funds must be held in a separate account. If a Medicaid applicant has life insurance, the amount that a Medicaid applicant can have in a burial account is reduced dollar for dollar for the face amount of life insurance.
Buy or trade in a vehicle: An applicant for nursing home Medicaid, along with their spouse, can have one vehicle of any value and qualify to receive nursing home Medicaid. If an applicant is slightly over the asset limit for Medicaid, they may want to consider trading in their vehicle for a more expensive model. This is particularly useful when one spouse is using a wheelchair, as an accessible van can be purchased.
Make improvements on residence: Applicants for nursing home Medicaid can reduce their countable assets for Medicaid by making improvements to their residence. The residence of a nursing home applicant is not counted for purposes of Medicaid qualification if it has an equity of $552,000 or less. A Medicaid applicant can reduce their countable assets by making improvements on their residence. Improvements on real estate that is not used as the primary residence of the Medicaid applicant will not reduce countable assets and may be considered a gift and trigger a penalty.
These are some of the methods that can be used if an individual is slightly above the asset limits for Medicaid. As Medicaid rules and regulations change frequently, such rules should be reviewed before completing a Medicaid spend down. Those with significant assets or additional questions should seek the advice of an experienced elder law attorney before undertaking any spend down strategy.