As you age you may start to worry about some of the practical realities that come along with the natural aging process, such as the likelihood of needing long-term care at some point in your life. Give the high cost of long-term care you may start to wonder how you are going to be able to pay for that care should you need it one day. For many people, Medicaid is the best option; however, what happens to your home when you need to qualify for Medicaid? What about your other assets? Because of the complex nature of the Medicaid system, and the ever-changing applicability requirements, it is always best to have your Missouri estate planning attorney review your situation before you apply for coverage. It may help though to have a better understanding of how your assets may be treated when you apply for Medicaid and even after you have been approved.
Like many people, you may have heard horror stories about senior citizens who lost all there hard earned savings when faced with the need to pay for long-term care. This is often blamed on the Medicaid eligibility rules. Though some of these stories are true, it is also possible to protect your assets and still qualify for Medicaid.
Medicaid is a federally funded (for the most part) healthcare program that is administered by the individual states. Because of this there are some differences from on state to the next with regard to eligibility rules and benefits. In all states, however, Medicaid is aimed at providing coverage to low income applicants. Therefore, your income must be below a threshold and your countable assets cannot be worth more than the program limits. Not all assets are counted though when determining eligibility. In Missouri, for example, your home is exempt as long as it is a place of residence for you, your spouse, or your dependent child.
The same rule usually applies when considering the Medicaid Asset Recovery program. The program allows Medicaid to pursue reimbursement for funds spent on an applicant from the applicant’s estate after death. The decedent’s home, however, is typically protected from any recovery efforts.
Although your home may be safe, other assets likely are not. This is why it is so important to include Medicaid planning in your overall estate plan as early on in life as possible.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your Medicaid planning, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.