What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that is available to certain low income individuals and families that helps to pay for costs associated with long term medical and custodial care. The program is largely funded by the federal government but Medicaid is a state program so the rules due vary per state. Each state has certain thresholds for income, property, assets, etc. that are tested in order to qualify for Medicaid. There are rules for individuals living in nursing facilities and for disabled children living at home.
Does Medicaid Pay for Long Term Care ?
In the state of Indiana, Medicaid will pay for long term care in a nursing home as long as a senior qualifies for needing the care. This is determined by the Northwest Indiana Community Action Agency.
What is the minimum asset requirement to qualify?
In order to qualify, a person has to deplete all of their assets down to $2000.00.
If I give money away or a home will I qualify?
No. The state has a look back period of 5 years to see where your money has gone. If there is any suspicious activity such as giving away a huge chunk of money or a home in the last 5 years then a person will not qualify. There are items that are acceptable ways to “spend down” assets to qualify for Medicaid as a low income senior. Some money/assets can be gifted within reason. Prepaid funeral and burial arrangements can be paid up to $3000 per couple. It is recommended to consult an Elder-law attorney to understand all of the “acceptable” ways to spend down assets to qualify for Medicaid.
What happens with my monthly income?
The nursing home patient must contribute all of his/her income towards the cost of care except for $52 per month. The $52 per month can be used on personal needs or anything that is not covered by Medicaid. This contribution of income to the facility for the care received at the nursing home is called “liability”.
What about my spouse?
On September 30, 1989, The Spousal Impoverishment Protection Law was put in place. The purpose of this law is to ensure that the spouse in the community is able to keep some of the couple’s assets and income while qualifying the nursing home spouse for Medicaid. In the state of Indiana, the community spouse is entitled to keep a maximum of half of the non-exempt assets up to a total of $119,220 (1/2015). The community spouse is allowed to keep all income that is solely in his/her name, plus half of all jointly owned income. If his/her income does not equal $1966 per month (7/2014), then he/she may keep part of the nursing home spouse’s income to bring his/her minimum equal to $1966 per month. If the community spouse has high living expenses, they can appeal to keep more of the nursing home spouse’s income up to $2980 (1/2015).