Medicaid Planning
(Asset Protection)

Among the concerns of a family facing the prospect of admitting a loved one to a nursing home is how they will afford the costs, which in Pennsylvania, average around $9,000-$10,000 per month.

Why is Asset Protection Planning Important?

Most health insurance plans and Medicare provide very limited coverage for patients in nursing homes. Unless you have long-term care insurance to cover your care, the only option is to pay for the care yourself until your assets are exhausted and then apply for Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal/state program begun in the 1960s to provide medical care, including nursing care, to those who cannot afford it.

Medicaid planning for nursing home care in Bucks County, PA
Medicaid planning attorney in Bucks County, PA

Who is Eligible for Medicaid in PA?

Generally, to qualify for Medicaid eligibility, your financial resources can be no more than $2,400. This includes cash, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, your IRA, and real estate not your principal residence. Also, if you transfer any financial resources to family or friends within five years of the date you apply for Medicaid, these will be counted as available resources, and may affect your eligibility.

Several resources are not counted in determining your eligibility for Medicaid. These include your automobile, household goods, clothing, jewelry, a grave marker, a pre-paid funeral, and your home if you state an intention to return to it after your nursing home stay, or if it is used as the principal residence of your spouse or dependent child.

After qualifying by showing your resources have been spent down to $2,400, you will have to prove that your income is insufficient to pay for your nursing home care. Generally, all of your income, but not your spouse’s income, is counted. This includes pensions, Social Security, interest and dividends from bank accounts, and other investments. You are, however, permitted to keep $45 per month as a personal needs allowance.

If you are married and living at home with your spouse, different rules may apply in determining your eligibility. Generally, your spouse is permitted to keep his or her income and any qualified retirement funds. Also, your spouse is permitted to keep a portion of the resources owned by either of you, in addition to the resources mentioned above that are not counted in determining your eligibility for Medicaid. This amount is approximately one-half of the couple’s non-exempt resources, with a low limit of $23,884 and a high limit of $119,220 in 2015. These amounts change from year to year. To learn more about navigating the complexities of Medicaid planning and asset protection, contact an attorney.

What do you do after you qualify?

After qualifying by showing your resources have been spent down to $2,400, you will have to prove that your income is insufficient to pay for your nursing home care. Generally, all of your income, but not your spouse’s income, is counted. This includes pensions, Social Security, and interest and dividends from bank accounts and other investments. You are, however, permitted to keep $45 per month as a personal needs allowance.

How Do I Protect My Assets from Medicaid in Pennsylvania?

As you can see, qualifying for Medicaid can mean being forced to sacrifice a large portion of your assets. Without enough money to pay for skilled nursing care or long-term care insurance, it may be your only option. You may be asking yourself, “How to protect my assets from Medicaid?” If you are depending on Medicaid to cover your long-term care expenses, a Medicaid planning lawyer can give you all the information you need to qualify while retaining as much of your financial resources as possible. Speaking to the right Medicaid planning attorney can allow you to make a plan and protect your assets. If you live in Bucks County, PA, or anywhere nearby, the team at Yorkway Law Group is ready to help you with Medicaid asset planning and many other important elder law concerns. With decades of combined experience with Medicaid estate planning in Pennsylvania, our attorneys can analyze your situation, your assets, and your income to give you the best advice about how to qualify for Medicaid and protect your assets in Bucks County, PA. Because everyone’s situation is different, we take a personalized approach to asset protection. When you speak with a Medicaid planning attorney from our firm, you can be certain you are getting the right advice for you and your loved ones. Long-term care expenses are the biggest threat to a person’s assets today. If you are one of the millions of people who will be relying on Medicaid to pay for long-term care and other medical expenses, you must meet with a Medicaid planning lawyer in Bucks County, PA today. Get in touch with Yorkway Law Group for all your Medicaid planning needs, as well as other elder law concerns like living trusts.
Learn more about navigating the complexities of Medicaid planning and asset protection.