A 73-year-old single retiree is collecting Social Security and a small state pension. He recently was told that he probably collects too much money to be eligible for Medicaid assistance to help with any kind of long-term care, if it was required in the future. He owns a house with a mortgage.
What options does he have, except for buying a long-term care insurance policy, which may be extremely expensive at his age.
Nj.com’s recent article entitled “I think I make too much money for Medicaid. What can I do?” says that there are some steps a person can take. However, it may take time before these actions will help your situation.
Medicaid has a five-year lookback. Therefore, if the Medicaid applicant gave away all of his assets this year and went into a nursing home expecting Medicaid to pay, the program would “look back” over five years at what he owned. The program can claw back what it spends on the applicant.
But just because you are not eligible for Medicaid and its long-term care benefits today, that does not mean that you will not be eligible in the future.
That is because even if your income is above the limit, you still might be able to qualify for Medicaid, if you have significant medical expenses.
In order to qualify financially, you need to have very limited resources.
In many states, for long-term care, an applicant’s assets cannot be more than a certain amount, such as $2,000 if you are single. However, not all property counts towards the resource limit. A home may be exempt, if it is your primary residence and worth less than the limit.
One option is a reverse mortgage which would free up some of the equity in the home to use towards a long-term care insurance policy.
Long term care policies can still be issued for people in their 70s, but the premiums will be higher than if you had enrolled 10 or 20 years ago. However, it is still an option and would keep the retiree in his home.
There are also a number of federal and state-funded programs that make it easier for seniors to live in the community and in their homes as long as possible.
One of the most important things to do is to visit with a qualified and experienced elder law attorney. You can locate an elder law attorney nearest you by going to the National Elder Law Foundation and doing a search for a Certified Elder Law Attorney. By visiting with a Certified Elder Law Attorney you will learn about options on how to safeguard assets and have planning in place to make sure you or your loved ones are cared for appropriately.
Reference: nj.com (March 11, 2021) “I think I make too much money for Medicaid. What can I do?”