Medicaid is a program that should be on your radar, even if you are going to qualify for Medicare as a senior citizen. Though Medicare will provide a strong foundation, it does not cover everything in full, and it does not cover custodial care at all.
This is the type of care you would receive in a nursing home or assisted living facility. There are also people that can receive the help that they need in their own homes with the assistance of an in-home health aide, and Medicare does not pay for this type of care either.
The Medicaid program does pay for custodial care, and this is why it is important for many elders.
If you think that you will probably never need living assistance, you should understand the facts. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 35 percent of seniors will require a level of care that only a nursing home can provide. Seven out of 10 individuals that are 65 years of age and older will need some form of help with their activities of daily living.
Medicaid Qualification Requirements
Since Medicaid is only available to people with limited resources, there is a $2000 ceiling on countable assets.
Your home is not counted, but there is an equity limit of $595,000 this year. One vehicle is permitted, along with household items, personal belongings, wedding rings, engagement rings, and heirloom jewelry.
Medicaid will not count a prepaid burial plot or $1500 that has been saved for final expenses. The same amount of whole life insurance can be carried, and unlimited term life is permitted.
Allowances for the Healthy Spouse
Now that we have provided the necessary background information, we can drill down to the point of this post.
In many instances, a married senior will require nursing home care while their spouse can still live independently. The healthy spouse is called the “community spouse” in Medicaid parlance, and they can qualify for two different allowances.
One of them is the Community Spouse Resource Allowance. This equates to half of the community property, but there is a limit.
This limit is $128,640 in Ohio in 2020. There is also a minimum of $25,728, even if this is more than half of the shared assets that are countable.
The other allowance is the Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance. This allows the healthy spouse to continue to receive income that is generated by the spouse that is living in a nursing home. The maximum this year is $3216 a month, and the minimum is $2113.75.
We touched upon the fact that there is an equity limit for home ownership. When a healthy spouse is remaining in the home, there is no limit at all.
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