The elder law challenge that impacts the widest range of people is the matter of long-term care and the costs that go along with it. Most senior citizens will require help with their activities of daily living eventually, and the Medicare program will not pay for custodial care.
Many people would question the fairness of this arrangement, because the program exists to meet the health care needs of elders. Most older folks will need some help taking care of their day-to-day needs, so it could be argued that this eventuality should be covered.
In any event, the gap is a fact of life, and paying for a nursing home stay out-of-pocket is not a very pleasant proposition. In the state of Ohio, the average cost for a month in a nursing home is $6905 at this time, and the average length of stay is one year.
If you are married, your family may face the prospect of pay nursing home bills for two different people, so the expenses could potentially consume most or all of your legacy.
Medicaid Can Provide a Solution
Medicaid is a jointly administered federal/state government health insurance program that will pay for a stay in a nursing home. You are probably aware of the fact that it is need-based, so there are income and asset limits.
When it comes to assets, the limit is $2000, but some things do not count, including your home. There are other exempt resources, and the healthy spouse is entitled to keep a certain store property when a married person is applying for Medicaid to pay for long-term care. These details are explained in a different blog post.
Treatment of Income
Now that we have provided the necessary background information, we can address the specific topic at hand. As we have stated, the Medicaid program is administered by the federal government in conjunction with each respective state government. Because of this, individual states can have somewhat different rules.
Here in Ohio and about half of the other states, there is an income limit of $2313 a month for an individual in 2019. If you are eligible, most of the income would go toward the cost of the care you are receiving, but you would get a $50 per month personal needs allowance.
If your assets that exceed this amount, you could still potentially qualify by spending the excess on the nursing home care. In the “income cap” states, an applicant with income that exceeds the minimum standard would have to convey the excess into a qualified income trust to gain eligibility.
Learn More About Medicaid Planning
You should certainly educate yourself about Medicaid eligibility as it applies to long-term care when you are looking ahead toward the future. We have provided a bit of information here, and you can take your knowledge to another level if you download our special report.
Our carefully prepared report that is entitled “A Family Guide to Ohio Medicaid Planning” is available to you free of charge right now. Plus, it is just one of many different titles that are in our electronic library, and you can access any or all of them if you click this link.
Attend a Free Seminar!
Written resources are extremely useful, but there is no substitute for a real-time interaction with a licensed elder law and estate planning attorney. We provide these opportunities through the free seminars that we hold on an ongoing basis, and there are a number of dates on the schedule right now. Visit our seminar page to get all the details, and we hope to see you soon!