Medicaid Planning Q & As

Paying for long-term care without spending down a loved one’s assets or impoverishing a spouse isn’t easy. Hubbard and Rotthier helps families secure quality care while preserving estates, large and small. While no one can guarantee a final outcome, we are committed to assisting with the process of securing Medicaid services for our long-term care nursing home clients. We can develop a Medicaid eligibility and asset protection plan. If you think or have been told that your loved one cannot qualify for Medicaid because he or she has too much income or resources, you have probably been misinformed. Call us today for a consultation.

Caregiver Crisis

Frequently, caregivers call us after being referred by a hospital or nursing home social worker. They explain that their loved one has recently sustained an injury and/or suffers from a medical condition such as heart disease or dementia. Whether they are still living at home, in assisted living, or recovering in a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, the concern is the same – they need a higher level of care and a way to pay for it. Compounding the caregiver’s crisis is the emotional and physical strain produced by family tension and a prolonged state of alert. There is a better way.

Contact Us

We offer peace-of-mind throughout the Medicaid eligibility process. With Hubbard and Rotthier, you will be provided the assistance your family needs, including:

  • Preparing a Medicaid Eligibility Plan (including a Miller Trust or Qualified Income Trust);
  • Assisting in choosing a nursing home;
  • Coordinating Medicare and Medicare Supplement benefits;
  • Filing a Medicaid application for assistance;
  • Representing your loved one before the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC);
  • Preparing a Medicaid Contingency Plan to insure continued Medicaid eligibility;
  • Creating a Medicaid Asset Protection Plan to protect the home and other

Frequent Asked Questions:

Q1:  What are the ways to pay for long term care expense?                

1) Medicare (very limited), 2) LTC Insurance (too few people have it), 3) Private Pay (what most people who do not plan will end up doing with their money), 4) Medicaid.

For most, Medicaid will be the primary way to pay for nursing home expenses when in retirement.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans do not plan properly and end up spending all of their own money on nursing home costs before receiving help from Medicaid.

Q2:  How much in countable assets (resources) can a single person own in order to qualify for Medicaid?

 $2,000 (no this is not a typo).  Money in CDs, money market accounts, IRAs, 401(k) plans, land, stocks/bond, etc, are considered countable resources and MUST be spent down to $2,000 before qualifying for Medicaid.

Q3:  What is a look back period, how long is it, and how does it affect Medicaid planning?

 A look back period in the context of Medicaid planning refers to a time frame used to “look back” to find gifts of assets given away by someone applying for Medicaid.  Any gifts made within 60 months (5-years) of applying for Medicaid will count against the applicant (most, but not every state has a 5-years look back).   

Q4:  What is a period of ineligibility (penalty period)?

When you make a gift of assets within 60 month of applying for Medicaid, that gift will create a penalty period the applicant must wait before becoming eligible for financial assistance for nursing home care from Medicaid.  For example, if an applicant gifted $50,000 to a child or trust three years ago and applies for Medicaid, the penalty period would be 12.5 months if the average private pay nursing home cost is $4,000 a month ($50,000/$4,000 = 12.5 month).

The applicant in this example would have to find the money from somewhere (gifts from family members) to pay for his/her nursing home costs until Medicaid assistance would kick in.

Q5 What are exempt assets?

Assets that can be owned and not count towards the $2,000 spend down amount.  The following are exempt assets:

Homestead (only if married) – if the spouse or certain dependent relatives continue to reside in the home, it is excluded.  If single, there is a 13-month unavailability period; Vehicle – a vehicle of any age; Life Insurance – term life policies and cash value life with less than with a death benefit of less than $1,500-$10,000 (depending on the state) are not counted; Irrevocable funeral and burial contracts or insurance policies – Everyone is going to die and therefore, using countable resources to pay for the inevitable expense of death is always incorporated into a Medicaid plan; Personal/Household Goods; Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CRSA); Medicaid annuities or Medicaid trusts  – Annuities or trusts setup with specific terms which allow them to be treated as non-countable assets (although the income from either will be used to help pay nursing home expenses.

Q6:  What does Medicaid recovery mean?

 It means that when someone who received financial assistance from Medicaid dies, the government looks to the assets of the estate to pay back expenses paid for by the government for your nursing home care.  However, a proper Medicaid plan can mitigate and even avoid Medicaid recovery (thereby allowing your remaining assets at death to pass to your heirs).

Q7:  How much income can you earn and still qualify for Medicaid?

It depends on the state, but if you are single, the amount is approximately $2,000 a month.

If married and where one spouse is applying to a nursing home, the non-nursing home bound spouse can earn between $1,750 – $2,739 a month (depending on the state).

With proper Medicaid planning, there are ways to reallocate income to help the nursing home bound spouse (or someone who’s single) qualify for Medicaid.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.
Hubbard and Rotthier, Attorneys at Law
Contact Hubbard and Rotthier, Attorneys at Law for a confidential consultation to assist you with your legal needs. Licensed to practice in all courts in the State of Texas.

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