May 26, 2018
This past week I learned something important about Medicaid. As we all know, Medicaid will pay for long term care costs (nursing home care, and through the home and community based waiver, adult day healthcare and care in the home) after an individual has exhausted all of their assets. In the past people gave away all their assets to loved ones before they accessed Medicaid funds. But Medicaid put a stop to that with the five year look back period. Any money given away up to five years prior to accessing Medicaid funds is now calculated as part of an individual’s assets. It becomes part of the spend down period. Spend down is what an individual with assets must do before they can access Medicaid funds. Spend down is calculated by dividing the amount of a person’s assets (investments, real estate, savings, etc.) by the amount that a day in a nursing home costs (approximately $200.00). So if a person has $500,000 worth of assets, they would not be able to access Medicaid funds for almost 7 years. 500,000/200 = 2,500/365 = 6.84
There are ways to avoid the look back period and the spend down period and it takes a lawyer to help with that. Lawyers cost a lot, of course, but some cost more than others to do the exact same thing. And all lawyers are not created equal. Some are better than others at this area of law called Elder Care Law. It never hurts to get a second opinion and usually the first consultation is free.
If you would like some referrals for lawyers I know who do this kind of legal help, please give me a call. I have been learning about this sort of thing for over 10 years.