Top-rated estate planning lawyer Michele Ungvarsky, founding partner at E-Law in Las Cruces, NM, reveals the common myth surrounding Medicaid. For more information please visit https://www.estradalawpc.com
— In a recent interview, top-rated estate planning lawyer Michele Ungvarsky, founding partner at E-Law in Las Cruces, NM, debunked myths surrounding Medicaid.
For more information please visit https://www.estradalawpc.com
When asked for a comment, Ungvarsky said, "One of the best things you can do in planning for elderly care is to have your financial ducks in a row when it comes to Medicaid. However, many people have Medicaid misconceptions, which often hinders the planning process. Here are some of the most common myths."
One of the biggest misunderstandings about Medicaid is that it's often confused with Medicare.
When asked about the difference between the two, she said, "Medicare is short-term insurance that provides only limited coverage for care in a nursing home. So if a patient has stayed in the hospital for at least three days, Medicare covers all nursing home costs for the first 20 days and 80% of all costs until day 100."
Medicaid, on the other hand, is used to pay for long-term care in nursing homes.
This is a vital difference to understand considering that, on average, in the U.S., a private room in a nursing home costs $110,380 annually and $89,292 per year in a semi-private room, according to Genworth's Cost of Care Survey.
Another widespread myth is about who can qualify for Medicaid, as most people think that they must be impoverished to apply.
When asked to elaborate, she said, "In order to qualify for Medicaid, you must only have $2,000 in countable assets, and a non-applicant spouse can only have $31,290 of countable assets. While this is certainly true, there are workarounds such as exempt and non-countable assets. Make sure to consult with a seasoned estate planning attorney to learn more about how you can 'spend down' some assets to meet this Medicaid qualification."
Ungvarsky was quick to add that Medicaid sets the limit on monthly income to only $2,349.
"Again, similar to working around the limit for assets, applicants can still qualify for Medicaid even if they make more than the set income limit. For instance, you might be able to transfer a portion of this income to a spouse to meet or fall under the limit," she said.
Another misconception is that the time is never right to plan for Medicaid.
"There's never a bad time to begin Medicaid planning. You can start even if you or your loved one are years away from needing out-of-home care for the long term. Or you can even begin the planning process after a loved one is already in a nursing home facility."
However, Ungvarsky pointed to the fact that the later the planning begins, the more limited options are on the table, so the earlier, the better.
Release ID: 88950735