Medicaid/Medical Assistance Planning always involves the consideration of financial eligibility. There are many different factors that people may need to take into consideration when it comes to applying for Medicaid. Many people assume that in order to qualify for Medicaid, a married couple must be destitute and living in poverty. However, there are protections in place which can allow one spouse to benefit from Medicaid while the healthier spouse is able to sustain some financial security. We will explore this topic in this post.
Talking with an elder law attorney about Medicaid/Medical Assistance Planning can help a married couple protect their assets. No couple or family wants to sacrifice a lifetime of savings if one spouse needs long term care, either at home or in a nursing facility. There are a number of assets that a married couple can retain when one spouse becomes eligible for Medicaid. What are these assets?
The largest asset that is exempt for Medicaid eligibility is often the family home. Household furnishings and personal effects are usually exempt along with one car for a married couple. They may also have cemetery plots and pre-paid funerals (up to a number that is set by county each year). Each spouse may also have a limited amount of life insurance. The ill spouse gets to keep a limited amount of cash, the amount depending on his or her income. The healthier spouse gets to keep a larger resource allowance up to a certain amount, which is determined when the Medicaid application is filed. The retirement accounts of the healthier spouse are also exempt in Pennsylvania. Specific figures can be reviewed with your attorney.
Everyone is in a unique position when it comes to Medicaid eligibility. Some people will not be eligible for Medicaid benefits as a result of their financial situation, while others may be able to make some adjustments to their assets in order to become eligible. Medicaid planning has helped many people deal with the challenges of covering the cost of long-term care, which is why it is important to plan sooner rather later.