Elder law attorneys always keep a close eye on the Medicaid parameters, because this program is very important for senior citizens. Some people would view this statement as a head stretcher, because everyone knows that most seniors qualify for Medicare when they reached the age of 65.
Why would you care about Medicaid if you are already going to have health insurance through the Medicare program?
This is a good question, and the answer is one of those inconvenient truths.
Medicare will pay for convalescent care after an injury or illness when recovery is expected. However, it will not pay for the custodial care that nursing homes provide, and it does not cover in-home care.
Medicaid will pick up the tab if you can gain eligibility, and this is why it is relevant to seniors that qualify for Medicare.
Don’t Be Overconfident
A lot of people are not too concerned about potential long-term care costs because they assume that they will always be able to handle their own activities of daily living. Plus, many of them know that family members will pitch in to provide assistance if it is ever needed.
It can definitely be hard to wrap your head around a time when you will not be able to take care of your own day-to-day needs. At the same time, it is equally hard to imagine how you will feel when you are in your 80s.
The life expectancy for someone that is 67 is 85 years for man, and it is 67 years for a woman. To put it into perspective, this is your life expectancy if you intend to live long enough to collect your full Social Security benefit.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, seven out of every 10 seniors will need some type of living assistance, and 35 percent of elders will reside in nursing homes.
Medicaid Healthy Spouse Allowances
Now that we have set the stage appropriately, we can get to the point of this post. Elder law attorneys help clients create strategies that will lead to future Medicaid eligibility. This takes intelligent planning, because there is a $2000 asset limit.
Some assets are not countable, including your home, but we will get into those details in a different blog post. We are going to focus on the allowances for the healthy spouse here.
When a married person with a healthy spouse is applying for Medicaid, the independent spouse is entitled to a Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA). This is half of the shared assets that are considered to be countable for Medicaid eligibility purposes.
There is a limit that is updated each year to account for the cost of living. In 2020, the limit has been $128,640, and it is going up to $130,380 next year. The minimum allowance has been $25,728, and it is going up to $26,076 next year.
A single applicant must contribute most of their income toward the cost of the care that is being received, but this requirement is waived if the healthy spouse is relying on the income. They can qualify for a Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, but there is a limit.
Next year, the limit on the high-end will be $3259.50 a month. The minimum allowance will rise from $2113.75 this year to $2155 in 2021.
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You can see the dates if you head over to our webinar page, and when you identify the session that works for you, follow the simple instructions to register.
Need Help Now?
If you have already learned enough to know that it is time for you to work with an attorney to put a plan in place, we are here to help. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 248-251-1001.