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Frequently Asked Questions About Medicaid and Nursing Homes

Q: WILL MEDICARE PAY FOR MY NURSING HOME COSTS?

A: No. Medicare provides limited coverage for short term nursing home rehab stays. Medicare does not pay the expenses of long-term health care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or in home care.

 

Q. WHAT GOVERNMENT PROGRAM WILL PAY FOR MY NURSING HOME COST?

A. Medicaid is the largest payer source for nursing home care in the Nation. Medicaid is a federal and state rules based program for those that qualify.

 

Q. HOW CAN I PROTECT MY ASSETS FROM BEING WIPED OUT TO PAY FOR NURSING HOME COSTS?

A. Proper planning with trained professionals is the best way to protect assets and pay for nursing home care. The average person can’t afford monthly nursing home care for an extended period of time. Once qualified for Medicaid, a person still has additional needs not covered by Medicaid. Early planning allows money to be set aside to take care of the Medicaid recipient while achieving or working toward Medicaid approval. There are many different strategies that can be used for single individuals and married couples. The strategy to be used varies from case to case, which is why early planning with trained professionals will achieve the greatest success.   

 

Q. IF MY SPOUSE IS GOING INTO A NURSING HOME, CAN HE OR SHE TRANSFER ALL OF HIS OR HER ASSETS TO ME OR OUR CHILDREN AND QUALIFY FOR MEDICAID?

A. No. Transferring assets to your spouse or your children often causes issues for qualification. Transferring assets to your spouse doesn’t change the asset, but transferring assets to your children (in most cases) can cause ineligibility for benefits. There are strategies that use gifting, but they are often times the last resort. The idea is to comply with Medicaid rules, meet the needs of the nursing home recipient (and their spouse if applicable), and pass on assets to children, if possible.  

 

NOTE: Information contained herein may contain general explanations of laws. It should not be considered as legal advice. Please seek counsel from an attorney regarding legal planning.  

 

Article written by By Bryson Eubanks.  This information is provided as a service by the Elder Law Practice of Timothy L. Takacs.  Public Benefits Specialist Bryson Eubanks works with elderly clients and their families to plan for the challenges of aging and long-term care. For more information, call (615) 824-2571 or visit www.tn-elderlaw.com.

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