If you are getting older, it is important that you have a plan for paying for your care should you end up suffering from age related disabilities. Do you have the resources to self pay for home care or skilled nursing care should your family be unable to care for you without help? Should you purchase long term care insurance or is the long term care insurance you already have adequate to meet your needs? What does your long term care insurance cover and might you have needs which are not covered by your insurance?
What happens if you do not have the resources to pay for this kind of care or what happens if your money or insurance coverage runs out? In this case, Medicaid may provide for some support your will need. Medicaid is a means tested government program which provides important benefits for people who have no means of paying for their own care. It should not be confused with Medicare, which is not means tested, but is instead health insurance, which covers some things and not others and covers little in the case of care in the event you need assistance with the actives of living due to disability or need skilled nursing care.
To understand if Medicaid might be available for you, or how you might plan for Medicaid as part of your long term health care plan, you should understand the Medicaid rules regarding what assets you own would be considered a countable asset in demonstrating your need for Medicaid. You need to know what constitutes a countable asset so you can determine if you will be able to qualify for Medicaid given the amount of money and property that you own. The attorneys at Clarity Legal Group® can help you understand these rules.
Qualifying for Medicaid could be the only way you are able to pay for nursing home care because nursing homes are extremely expensive and Medicare. You may also want to have a plan which protects and preserves some assets for family as part of smart planning which protects your estate plan for your family and still allows you to can get Medicaid coverage when you need care.
Clarity Legal Group® can explain the Medicaid qualification rules for you, including rules regarding how many assets you are able to own and still get Medicaid benefits. We can also provide you with insight into how you can create a Medicaid plan so you do not have as many countable assets for Medicaid and you can get the care you need without impoverishing yourself first.
What is Considered a Countable Asset for Medicaid?
A countable asset for Medicaid is a specific asset that counts towards your asset limit in determining if you can become eligible for means-tested Medicaid benefits or not.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains what types of assets are typically counted for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility and what kinds of assets are not generally considered to be countable. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, countable assets typically include:
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- Stocks that you own
- Bonds you own
- Any real property that is not your primary residence
- Certificates of deposits (CDs)
- Cars or other motor vehicles if you have more than one
Department of Health and Human Services also indicates that some assets which are typically not considered to be countable assets for purposes of determining if you can qualify for Medicaid include:
- The primary home or residence where you live.
- Your personal property including any basic belongings you own and your basic household belongings
- One car or other motor vehicle that you own
- A small value life insurance policy, such as a policy with a face value of $1,500 or less
- Up to $1,500 that has been set aside in order to cover the costs of your funeral and burial
- Burial arrangements that you may have pre-paid for, such as a pre-need burial agreement or funeral trust
Planning for Medicaid includes looking at these rules and understanding whether there are exceptions to the rules or changes you can make in what you own which will put you in the best position to be eligible for Medicaid and also fulfill you plans for yourself and your family. This planning can begin well in advance of any need for care and there are things can be done immediately before the need for care. You should always see an experienced Medicaid attorney before applying for Medicaid.
Sometimes this planning may include the use of a trust specifically related to this planning. Some assets held in trusts are not considered to be countable assets. However, you cannot assume that just because you have made some type of trust that the assets held within it will not be counted for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility. An asset that is held in a revocable living trust, for example, would typically be considered as a countable asset for Medicaid.
Getting Help from a Medicaid Attorney?
A Medicaid planning attorney at Clarity Legal Group® will provide personalized one-on-one advice specific to your situation to help you understand the rules for which of your assets could be considered a countable asset for Medicaid. We can also help you to try to protect your assets by applying a full understanding of the rules and exceptions to the rules to ensure you have and your family are able to keep that to which you are entailed and that you are able to get Medicaid to cover you when you need care.
To find out more about how our firm can help with the process of qualifying for Medicaid so you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you can afford nursing home care and still leave a legacy, give us a call at 919-484-0012 or contact us online today.