Turning to Medicaid to pay the cost of a nursing home
If there is any possibility that your parents will be moving into a nursing home over the next ten years, you will probably need help from someone who understands the laws surrounding Medicaid. According to a New York Times article, a national survey by insurance company Genworth found that the median annual cost of a semiprivate nursing home is more than $80,000, with a private room costing more than $90,000 a year. Worse, this cost is growing at over twice the rate of inflation. Rather than try to shoulder these expenses yourself, most people choose to turn to Medicaid. If you will be relying on Medicaid to deal with these substantial costs, you should know how the laws governing Medicaid will affect your day-to-day life. For this, you will need the help of a Medicaid attorney.
Because all senior citizens have different financial situations and different needs in terms of care, there are different types of Medicaid available, but all of them come with income restrictions. If one of your parents goes into a nursing home, the other will be allowed to keep at least $1,991.25 a month of their combined incomes, and possibly more. Someone in a nursing home on Medicaid will be permitted an income of $1,247.50 for basic care and $1,560.50 for a dementia-lockdown unit. This includes Social Security, fixed pensions and other forms of fixed income, but not interest, dividends or payments out of an IRA or 401K.
There are also restrictions on resources. If your parents have more than $240,000 between them, the most they will be able to keep back at home is $119,220. In this case, countable resources include life insurance, retirement plans, IRAs and annuities.
The laws governing entrance into nursing homes and assisted living centers are also different. Nursing homes are considered long-term care, while assisted living centers are considered special assistance. If your parents plan on transferring their assets to you, there is a look-back period before applying for Medicaid — three years in the case of special assistance, five years in the case of long-term care.
A Medicaid law expert in Gastonia, NC by Medicaid attorney
Medicaid law is a subject that it takes a long time to master the intricacies of. If you want to protect your assets when applying for Medicaid, it is a good idea to find a Medicaid attorney who understands the subject and can help you get the most advantage out of the law.
Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. Call and make an appointment today.