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Medicaid and Nursing Homes: A Quick Guide to the Rules

August 18th, 2015

Posted in Asset Protection,Estate & Personal Planning

Medicaid has been around for many years, as it was designed to help low income people with healthcare. In today’s society, many people use Medicaid as their long-term care insurance and it pays for the majority of nursing home care for patients across the United States.

In Florida, there are three sets of requirements in order to become eligible for Medicaid Institutional Care, or ICP, which covers nursing home care. First, you must have the medical need to be in nursing home care. The second and third requirements are income and asset qualification requirements. Currently, in general, your monthly countable income should not exceed $2,199 and countable assets should not exceed $2,000 for an individual. Although most assets and income are countable, there are non-countable assets and income that do not count toward the limitations. For example, the most important non-countable asset for most people in Florida is their homestead. Eligibility requirements for Medicaid Institutional Care for married couples differ from individual requirements on income and asset limits and also vary depending on whether or not both spouses need nursing home care.

Once you are eligible for Medicaid Institutional Care, the nursing home currently will allow you to keep only $ 35 per month of your income for your personal needs. The nursing home may allow all or part of the patient’s income to be used for the spouse or dependents depending on the circumstances. Essentially, the eligibility worker will calculate the patient responsibility amount which the patient must pay. Medicaid will cover the difference between the nursing home charges to Medicaid and what the patient pays. Then when the nursing home patient dies, Medicaid is allowed to recover any benefits that have already been paid out. This means that the government may come after your assets after you pass away. There may be planning techniques to avoid this situation.

If you believe you may need to qualify for Florida Medicaid, you should contact a qualified attorney or lawyer to review your financial situation and assist with the protection of your assets so that you can be prepared for your future.

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