15 Jun 2016

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a needs-based assistance program organized and funded by both the federal and state government.   Medicaid will cover expenses for unskilled, nonmedical personnel either in the home or a long term care facility.  In Colorado, unlike many states, Medicaid may pay for both nursing home care and assisted living expenses.

To qualify for Medicaid, the applicant must meet both medical and financial qualifications.   The applicant must be over 65 years of age, blind or disabled as defined by the Social Security Act, and meet a nursing home level of care.   Very generally speaking, so long as the person needs assistance with any two Activities of Daily Living (mobility, bathing, dressing, eating, using the toilette, transferring or need for supervision), he or she will be considered in need of a nursing home level of care.

There are also financial qualifications for Medicaid assistance.   A single person, for example, cannot have more than $2,000 of “countable resources”.  Resources that are not countable include a personal residence, one vehicle, an irrevocable burial insurance plan.   Countable assets include bank and brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, real property not used as a primary residence etc.   A married couple may be allowed approximately $120,000 in countable resources.

Just because a single or married parent has resources that exceed the maximum countable resource limit does not mean that parent cannot become eligible for Medicaid services.   Legal strategies exist which may allow the parent to become eligible for nursing home or assisted living care even if parent has resources greater than the resource limit.  Just because a parent’s resources exceed the Medicaid maximum resources does not mean they cannot become eligible without losing all or most of their assets.  Nor must they spend down virtually all their assets to obtain state Medicaid benefits.

If you or a loved one has questions about becoming eligible for Medicaid, please feel free to call for a free consultation to understand your rights and opportunities.   James Morgan, J.D., CFP®, 303-457-9500.

The above commentary and solutions discussed in this article constitute legal information, not legal advice.   Such solutions may or may not apply to your situation and strategies and strategies vary from state to state, and  may not be available in the state where you reside.   If you are a Colorado resident, please feel free to call me for a free consultation at 303-457-9500.  Be sure to discuss these issues with a competent elder planning attorney and/or tax advisor before taking any action.

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