Medicaid Applications

Medicaid planning is a response to the concern of older Americans regarding the high cost of long-term nursing home care. With the comprehensive coverage provided by Medicaid, elder law attorneys and their respective clients have come to view Medicaid planning as a required analysis to determine how best to provide for at home care or pay for long term nursing home admission. Generally, the purpose behind Medicaid planning is to make the individual eligible for Medicaid benefits, while preserving as much of his or her resources for the benefit of the other family members if Long Term Care Insurance is unavailable.

If one spouse has to enter a nursing home, the healthy spouse is allowed to keep a certain amount of the assets plus the home and one car. The nursing home spouse is allowed to keep $2,000 to $2,500. The balance of the marital estate would have to be spent on the ill spouse's nursing home costs. However, some of the money could be spent down by:

  • prepaying funeral expenses for both spouses
  • purchasing a car
  • purchasing a house (if they don't already own one)
  • making improvements to an existing house
  • purchasing a Medicaid Qualifying Annuity.
  • paying off debt such as mortgage and credit cards

A Medicaid Qualifying Annuity converts the excess assets that would otherwise have to be spent on paying the nursing home into income for the healthy spouse. The healthy spouse's income is not countable when determining the nursing home spouse's eligibility for medical assistance. However the annuity must meet certain criteria in order to allow for Medicaid eligibility.

Medicaid crisis planning occurs when the individual:

  • is entering a nursing home or is a resident of a nursing home
  • is not expected to return home or into the community
  • has exhausted all of his or her Medicare coverage
  • has been asked to self-pay

We can still help protect some assets even in crisis situations. It is best to plan before the crisis hits, but even then, some assets can be protected.
Howie Law Office prepares Medicaid/Mass Health applications. We attend meetings with the Department of Health and Human Services and handle the process from start to finish.

The information provided herein is for general purposes only and does not to purport to give specific advice on individual matters. If you want individual advice, contact Mary Howie, an Elder Law and Estate Planning attorney practicing in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Attorney Howie also holds a master's degree in business administration and finance. Call her at (603) 893-8008.