Sudden Changes and Big Decisions
Change is life’s only constant. Sometimes these changes strike without warning. If you or a loved one has experienced a sudden illness or serious accident, you understand how abruptly everything can change. Are you or a loved one suddenly in need of nursing home care? Finding affordable quality care on short notice can be stressful and draining. We can help you determine the best options for care and how to qualify for Maryland Medicaid, or Medicaid in the District of Columbia to help finance long-term care options.
Long-term Care: Counting the Cost
Long-term care is expensive, and these costs only continue to increase as baby boomers age. Although the range varies depending on where you live, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the annual cost of care will double in the next 20 years. With improved medical care, the average life span of adults also is increasing; this translates into more years of care at increasingly higher rates. Without some sort of financial assistance through careful financial planning, these costs could be financially devastating. In fact, your entire life savings could be quickly depleted within a few years of needing long-term care. This is where Medicaid can help.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program to assist those with low income and limited resources. While Medicare provides very limited long-term care coverage, Medicaid is much more extensive. Because of its restrictions, qualifying for Medicaid can be extremely difficult, however, paying for a nursing home without it could be nearly impossible.
The Medicaid Maze
Although Medicaid requirements vary from state to state, they all share one common element: complexity. Here in the DMV, The District of Columbia Medicaid, Maryland Medicaid, and Virginia Medicaid, the rules vary and careful planning is necessary because choosing a nursing home facility located in one state versus another could have huge ramifications.
Each state specifies a maximum allowed income for individuals and couples in order to qualify for Medicaid. Also, the applicant’s total assets cannot exceed a specified amount called the Individual Resource Allowance, which is consistently very low, often less than $2,000*.
Although certain possessions, like your home and automobile, are “exempted” for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility, this figure is still alarming.
If the applicant is married, the process becomes more complicated. For the recipient to qualify for Medicaid in any state, the applicant’s spouse can keep only half the couple’s assets up to a Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance.
What can you do if the value of your “non-exempt” assets exceeds Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance? If you give your extra assets away, which seems like an obvious choice, you will encounter greater problems. By doing this, you violate this “Transfer Penalty Rule” which could disqualify you from receiving Medicaid for months or years, depending on how much you gave away.
If your need for nursing home care is immediate, time is not something you can afford to lose.
The Medicaid Qualification Process = Legally Protecting the Maximum Amount the Law Allows.
This is only a brief and oversimplified review of a few Medicaid rules and, of which there are many more. Navigating them on your own could be a nightmare at best and subject you to penalties at worst and it might deny a loved one months of eligibility. Fortunately, through, Profit Law Firm an elder law attorney knowledgeable in these matters can guide you through the Medicaid maze. We can advise you throughout the application process, ensuring that you retain the maximum income and total assets allowed by law.
We strongly advise those who seek help to seek appropriate counsel by a Medicaid lawyer before you apply for and aim to qualify for Medicaid. We can give you – and your family – peace of mind during a difficult and uncertain time. When dealing with Medicaid, legal advice is something you cannot afford to go without.
* Since these amounts (e.g., the “Community Spouse Resource Allowance,” etc.) are adjusted annually, these numbers may vary slightly depending on when the most recent figures are released.