Medicaid Crisis Planning
Serving Clients across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex
Sudden Changes and Big Decisions
Change is life’s only constant. Sometimes these changes strike without warning. If you or a loved one has experienced a sudden illness or serious accident, you understand how abruptly everything can change. Are you or a loved one suddenly in need of nursing home care? Finding and affording quality care on short notice can be stressful and draining. We can help you determine the best options for care and how to qualify for Medicaid to help finance them.
Long-term Care: Counting the Cost
Long-term care is expensive, and these costs only continue to increase as baby boomers age. Although the range varies depending on where you live, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Study for 2020 the median annual cost of a private nursing home room in Texas was $80,300 with a 3% annual increase projected. With improved medical care, the average life span of adults also is increasing; this translates into more years of care at increasingly higher rates. Without some sort of financial assistance, these costs could be financially devastating. In fact, your entire life savings could be quickly depleted within a few years of needing long-term care. This is where Medicaid can help.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program to assist those with low income and limited resources. In Texas, Medicaid covers the cost of nursing home care for those who qualify but provides very little coverage for in-home care or assisted living. Qualifying for Texas Nursing Home Medicaid can be extremely difficult, but paying for a nursing home without it could be all but impossible.
The Medicaid Maze
Although Medicaid requirements vary from state to state, they all share one common element: complexity. Each state specifies a maximum allowed income for individuals and couples in order to qualify for Medicaid. Also, the applicant’s total assets cannot exceed a specified amount called the Individual Resource Allowance, which in Texas is $2,000. Although certain possessions, like your home and automobile, are “exempted” for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility, this figure is still alarming. If the applicant is married, the process becomes more complicated. For the applicant to qualify for Texas Medicaid, their spouse can keep only half the couple’s assets up to a Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance of $ $130,380. So, if a couple has the maximum $ $130,380** in assets, they must “spend down” to all but $3,000 for the applicant and $65,190 for the spouse.
What can you do if the value of your “non-exempt” assets exceeds the $130,380* Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance? If you give your extra assets away, which seems like an obvious choice, you will encounter greater problems. Violating this “Transfer Penalty Rule” could disqualify you from receiving Medicaid for months or years, depending on how much you gave away.
If your need for nursing home care is immediate, time is not something you can afford to lose. Why? If you wait too long and your non-exempt assets fall below the maximum $130,380 limit, then the applicant’s spouse can only keep half of what is left … with $25,728** as the Minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance. In other words, $65,190** truly is the Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance!
The Medicaid Qualification Process Means Legally Protecting the Maximum Amount the Law Allows
This is only a brief and oversimplified review of a few Medicaid rules, of which there are many more. Navigating them on your own could be a nightmare at best and subject you to penalties at worst. Fortunately, we can guide you through the Medicaid maze, advising you throughout the application process, ensuring that you retain the maximum income and total assets allowed by law.
Seek appropriate counsel before you apply for and seek to qualify for Medicaid. We can give you – and your family – peace of mind during a difficult and uncertain time. When dealing with Medicaid, legal advice is something you cannot afford to go without.
* The Individual Resource Amount varies from state to state.
** Since these amounts (e.g., the “Community Spouse Resource Allowance,” etc.) are adjusted annually, these numbers may vary slightly depending on when the most recent figures are released.