A joint federal-state program, Medicaid provides medical assistance to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America and serves as the option of last resort for people who have no other way to finance their long-term care. Although Medicaid eligibility rules vary from state to state, federal minimum standards and guidelines must be observed.
Those with sufficient means have the option of paying for in-home nursing care. However, most individuals cannot afford this level of care and must reside in a nursing facility. The individual must pay privately for the nursing home, at a cost of up to $8,000 per month in Kentucky. Most people cannot afford this monthly expense for very long. Once they run out of money, Medicaid pays.
The most common Medicaid question is: must an individual spend every last dime on the nursing home before Medicaid steps in? Medicaid rules are restrictive and complex. It is possible to obtain Medicaid eligibility while preserving assets for the next generation. This is called Medicaid planning. The sooner an individual starts planning, the more assets preserved.
There are several tools available in Medicaid planning, such as gifting, trusts, spend down, long term care insurance, annuities, promissory notes, or a combination thereof. Each tool has its benefits. Each tool has downsides. Only an experienced elder law attorney knows how to implement these tools as part of a comprehensive plan designed to get an individual on Medicaid while protecting assets from the cost of long term care. Trying to navigate the Medicaid rules alone or using an inexperienced attorney to create a Medicaid plan can result in mistakes, leading to Medicaid ineligibility.
Our goal at Elder Law of Louisville is to learn about the individual's family dynamics, educate the entire family about Medicaid, and develop a comprehensive family strategy that protects assets while obtaining Medicaid eligibility. Again, the sooner planning begins, the more assets protected. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.