Medicaid is a joint Federal/state program that is technically earmarked to provide access to medical care to people of all ages who have financial need. It will pay for an extended stay in a long-term care facility unlike Medicare. So, many senior citizens attempt to qualify for Medicaid as a way to pay for a stay in an assisted living community or a nursing home.
In fact, the majority of people who are receiving long-term care rely on Medicaid to pay for it. This raises a question: How can so many Americans be using Medicaid when it is only available to people with very limited financial resources?
The answer is that a lot of your most valuable possessions don’t count, such as your home, your vehicle and your personal property. And, if you were to require long-term care your spouse could keep half of community resources up to a limit. As of this writing the limit is $113,640.
A lot of people will engage in something called a Medicaid “spend-down” when they recognize that they will be applying for Medicaid. This involves divesting yourself of resources to stay within the upper resource limits. One way that people do this is by simply giving gifts to family members who would otherwise be inheriting these assets someday.
The thing that you need to know with regard to spending down is the fact that there is a five-year look-back period. You are penalized if you intentionally transfer assets or otherwise divest yourself of resources within five years of your application for the Medicaid program.
To learn more about Medicaid and how to approach eligibility, simply take a moment to arrange for a consultation with a good Cleveland OH elder law attorney.