Retirement Weekly: Do I have to spend my assets before Medicaid will pay for my spouse’s nursing home?

by | Oct 21, 2022 | Stock Market

Dear Harry, My spouse is going to have to move to a nursing home. When spending down assets for the sick spouse to qualify for Medicaid does it have to be done before sick spouse is sent to a nursing home or can it be done even after the sick spouse is admitted to a nursing home? Dear Reader,

Unfortunately, the rules for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care are very complicated and contain many traps for the unwary. Medicaid is the federal-state safety net program for healthcare. Unlike most health insurance, it pays for nursing home care. But to qualify, nursing home residents must prove that they are impoverished under Medicaid’s arcane rules. To complicate things further, the rules differ somewhat from state to state. Read: So long, senior centers and nursing homes. Older adults don’t want to spend their time in places where they are seen as victims in decline. In most states, in order to be eligible, the nursing home residents must have “countable” assets of less than $2,000. Almost all assets are counted against this limit except for the resident’s home, which is not countable as long as its fair market value (less any mortgage) is less than $955,000 (in 2022). (In some states this limit is $636,000.) Further, if the nursing home resident is married, their spouse — known as the “community” spouse — is limited to $137,400 (in 2022) in countable assets. This is known as the community spouse resource allowance or “CSRA.” In some states, however, the limit i …

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