Justin, My mother has been living in a nursing home for almost two years. The only asset she has left is around $40,000 in a checking account. At the rate we’re depleting her funds, she’ll be completely out of money in eight months. At what point should we come in to see you about getting her qualified for Medicaid coverage to help with her nursing home expenses? – Sue
Sue, The short answer is: right now! Many people believe that you must be broke, or at least nearly broke, before you start planning for Medicaid coverage. That is not true. In fact, that type of thinking can be downright dangerous.
Your understanding is correct that Medicaid coverage comes with strict asset limits. For a single person like your mother, she will need to be below $2,000 before she submits a Medicaid application. But that does not mean you should continue to private pay the facility until your mother runs out of money.
The smart course of action is to get out ahead of things. Under the right circumstances, we can help your mother to artificially reach the Medicaid asset limit right away so that we can file for benefits now. When the application is approved, the notice will come with a “waiting period” based on how much money she moved prior to submitting the application. But the formula DHS uses to determine that waiting period works out to where her coverage will begin well before the funds she moved run out.
If that sounds a little complicated, don’t worry. It is. But that’s what we’re here for. The attorneys and staff members at The Elrod Firm are here to help with this process every step of the way. The two keys are: 1) don’t put off Medicaid planning, and 2) don’t try to go it alone. To learn more and to request a free strategy session, go to our website, elrodfirm.com.