MYTH: You must privately pay all
of your money to the Nursing Home before you will qualify for Medicaid benefits.
TRUTH: This is incorrect. There are many spend-down strategies that are completely
legal that can be used to protect assets. When couples are told they need to spend-down their money, they automatically
assume they have to spend their money on their care before qualifying for Medicaid. However, there are many spend down
strategies you can employ to satisfy the spend-down requirement without actually spending the money on patient care.
MYTH: You can
give $13,000 to each of your children and still qualify for Medicaid.
TRUTH: Many of my clients believe that they are allowed to give away up to $14,000
every year (2013) to each of their children and grandchildren, without Medicaid imposing any disqualification penalty. This
is incorrect. The $14,000 gifting exemption you have heard about is an IRS rule. The IRS allows youto give away
$14,000 without incurring a gift tax. However, this has nothing to do with Medicaid. Medicaid will
still look back five years and impose a disqualification period.
MYTH: Medicare will cover the cost of my nursing home care.
In general, Medicare will provide 20 days of full coverage (if you go into the nursing home after at least three
days in the hospital) AND you are getting skilled care (rehabilitation). After the 20 days are up, if you still need
rehabilitation, you can qualify for up to 80 more days (there will be a deductible, but your health insurance
will normally pay the difference.) Therefore, you will get a total of 100 days covered if you qualify during that time
for skilled care or rehabilitation. After the 100 day period ends, or in the event that you no longer qualify for skilled
care during the 100 days, you will become a private pay patient.
MYTH: Once I am in a nursing home, it is too late to implement
a medicaid plan.
It is never too late or too early to implement a Medicaid Plan. In those cases where planning was not done and the person
is already in a nursing home, it is possible to still protect assets. While we may not be able to save all of your assets,
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO...but you have to call a qualified medicaid attorney.