Q & A on Medicaid Rules for Singles 12/15/15

Intro: Mom had been doing fine at home, but suddenly had a fall. Her stay in the hospital turned into a long term stay in a nursing home. She had some assets, but she had paid into the Medicare and government benefit system through many years of working, so she would be eligible for some help, right? Unfortunately, her thoughts are probably very wrong.

Q. So, if you end up in a nursing home for good, Medicare will pay for the stay, right? You paid for it!

A. Well, Medicare only pays for a short time for Nursing home care. It will pay, along with your supplemental insurance, only up to 100 days of care. Since health insurance pays to help you get better, after 100 days, they assume that you are no longer going to get better, so the insurance won't pay anymore.

Q. Well, then since she paid into the government benefit system for a long time, then she can get benefits like Medicaid to pay without any issues.

A. I am afraid that assumption would also be wrong. It's not so easy to qualify.

Q. Well, what are the qualification rules?

A. For a single person like mom, she can only have $1500, a cemetery plot, a prepaid funeral contract and a car worth less than $4500.

Q. That isn't much. Does mom need to spend all the rest of her assets on her care first before she can qualify for Medicaid?

A. That's what the nursing homes and Medicaid want you to think, so that they receive as much money as possible in private pay rates before Medicaid is allowed. And that can amount to as much as $10,000 per month!

Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken in order to qualify WITHOUT spending all the assets first, but you need to plan ahead. See a certified elder law attorney to find out what can be done.

Close: Don't gamble with your assets. If you don't plan for possible nursing home costs, you could lose them all!