The Long Island Medicaid attorney and the staff here at our firm answer many questions that clients ask about the program and the way that it can help preserve your legacy. Since we have had so many of these discussions, we understand what people typically have on their minds. In this post, we will provide a hypothetical conversation that is similar to the ones that we have with our clients.
Why would I need Medicaid if I’m going to qualify for Medicare when I’m 65?
Medicare will pay for convalescent care after an injury or illness when recovery is anticipated. However, it will not pay for custodial care. This is the type of assistance that you would receive in a nursing home, and there are some people that can receive the custodial care that they need in their own homes.
The Medicaid program will pay for a stay in a nursing home, and there is a portion of the program that will cover in-home care. This is why Medicaid can be relevant, even if you will qualify for Medicare.
Do most people require long term care at some point in time?
You have to understand the fact that the oldest segment of the population is growing faster than any other age group. Once you reach the age of 67, your life expectancy is at least 85 years. If you become an octogenarian, it is very likely that you will need help with your activities of daily living.
When you are considering this dynamic, you should understand a compelling statistic about Alzheimer’s disease. It strikes approximately 40 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older. Clearly, a very significant percentage of people with Alzheimer’s disease are going to require nursing home care.
Is nursing home care very expensive?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes. On Long Island, you can expect to pay more than $125,000 for a year in a nursing home, and costs have been rising steadily. When you consider the impact, if you are married, you and your spouse may require long-term care. As a result, there would be two exorbitant bills to pay.
Medicaid is for people with very limited resources, right?
There is a low asset limit that you must stay within to obtain Medicaid coverage. In most parts of the country, it is just $2000. At the time of this writing, in the state of New York it is $15,150.
Does everything that I own count?
A number of things that you probably have in your possession are not considered to be countable assets for Medicaid eligibility purposes. The most significant asset that is not counted is your home, but there is an equity limit that stands at $858,000. Your furniture and the other things that you have around the house are not countable assets, and your personal belongings would not be counted.
An applicant can have one vehicle that is used as a primary source of transportation. You can also retain possession of your wedding ring, your engagement ring, any heirloom jewelry that you may have. Unlimited term life insurance is allowed, and you can have as much as $1500 worth of whole life insurance, and the same amount of money set aside for final expenses.
Can I just give my assets to my children after I find out that I need to enter a nursing home?
You can, but if you do this, your eligibility for Medicaid would be delayed. There is a five-year Medicaid look back period. All gift giving must be completed at least five years before you submit your application.
If you violate this rule, your eligibility will be delayed for a period of time that is based on the amount of the divestitures as they compare to the cost of nursing home care. To explain by way of example, let’s assume that the average charge for a year a nursing home is $125,000. You gave away $375,000 within this five-year time frame. Under these circumstances, your eligibility would be delayed by three years.
Attend a Free Seminar!
We shared some very useful information in this relatively brief blog post, but you can take your knowledge to another level if you attend one of our upcoming seminars. They are absolutely free to attend, but we do ask that you register in advance so that we can reserve your seat. To see the schedule and obtain registration information, visit the seminar page on this website.