There comes a point in anyone’s life when they start to realize they’re not as young as they used to be, and as they get older they become increasingly aware of their own mortality. None of us have very long on this Earth, and we may be closer to the grave than we would care to admit.
People are more likely to need long-term care services when they’re in their 70’s or 80’s, and some may need it when they are even younger. Maybe you’re in your fifties, and you might be thinking about where you’re going to be in the next twenty years. Will you still be in the same state of good health that you might be in right now, or will you still be alive? But you’re not rich, and you don’t know if you’ll be able to afford a long-term care policy.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that’s designed to provide health care for people who have limited assets. It’ll cover any kind of medical care, such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and even long-term care services. This includes things like custodial care, home health care, and even nursing home care.
(Related – How does Obama Care affect us?)
The eligibility requirements for Medicaid will vary from state to state, but most of them have strict income requirements. You cannot make more than a specified amount, and you can’t have more than a certain amount of money left in the bank. Otherwise, you won’t be eligible for coverage.
There are some additional requirements in order to be eligible for long-term care coverage through Medicaid. These will vary from state to state, but in all cases, it must be considered “medically necessary” in order to qualify. You also have to bear in mind that not all long-term care facilities will accept Medicaid, and they have to be licensed by the state in which they are operating. So, it’s possible you won’t be able to use the one you want.
As I said before, Medicaid has very strict income requirements. So, you have to carefully monitor your assets in order to keep it within their guidelines. (See also – What to do when you don’t have health insurance)
In fact, they require you to spend most of your money on long-term care expenses, and you’re only allowed to keep a small amount of it as part of a “personal needs allowance.” This money can be used to cover basic living expenses, such as food, clothing, and other fixed expenses that come with everyday living. These requirements also vary from state to state.
So, you want to be informed of what they are. That way, you won’t wind up losing your benefits.
Like any other government program, there is a huge amount of red tape you have to go through in order to get it, and trying to sift through all the bureaucracy can seem as impossible as cutting a diamond with a butter knife.
So, if you’re planning to us Medicaid for long-term care expenses, you have to be informed about what sort of benefits they offer as well as what they require in order to get them.
Probably worth mentioning that the “personal needs allowance” is around $38 a month in almost every state.
Oh is it? I wasn’t aware of it! Well that can cover one grocery store trip only
Scott A Olson says
Fortunately, today, there is no need for any senior to spend down their assets to become eligible for Medicaid. All of their assets can be protected.
43 states have passed landmark legislation creating a “public-private” partnership to help the middle-class plan for long-term care.
These states have approved for purchase a special type of long-term care insurance called a “long-term care partnership policy”. This program is designed to encourage the middle-class to purchase an amount of long-term care insurance that is equal to their assets. If the long-term care insurance policy runs out of benefits they can apply for Medicaid to pay for their care and all of their assets would be protected from Medicaid “spend down” and “estate recovery”.