Access to affordable medical care is increasingly more important during a health pandemic. One of the bills passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic increases Medicaid funding for states. The bill also includes a provision preventing states that accept the additional money from terminating eligible Medicaid benefits while the current coronavirus pandemic continues.
A big concern among people moving into nursing homes is that they’ll lose their homes as they try to qualify for Medicaid.
It’s something we hear all the time in the world of Doylestown, and other Bucks County areas in Medicaid planning, and it’s understandable that you might have this fear. No one likes the thought of the government or some giant nursing home chain swooping down to seize your house.
However, this fear is based on a misconception that potential nursing home residents have to automatically divest themselves of their homes in order to qualify for Medicaid.
In Pennsylvania, your home isn’t considered a countable resource by Medicaid if you plan to return to it after your nursing home stay.
It’s a pretty common question: “How do I apply for Medicaid?”
And it’s actually fairly simply to apply for Medicaid. PA residents essentially just need to fill out an application and send it to their county assistance office.
While it’s a long form, it’s pretty straightforward. The question really isn’t “How do I apply for Medicaid?” It’s “How do I qualify for Medicaid?”
We’re thinking a lot these days about gifting, and not just because the holiday shopping season is upon us.
Gift giving is an act of kindness, a way to demonstrate our love and affection for people, but it’s also an essential tool in the world of estate planning.
What do we mean? Well, you might want to give away assets while you’re still alive so that they aren’t included in your estate and open to taxation after your death.
We understand this impulse. It not only makes financial sense, but you’ll get to see your loved ones enjoy your gifts. However, it’s important to think about the tax implications that might apply before you act.
It’s important to understand the medicaid gifting rules. If you are admitted to a nursing home, you will usually want to qualify for Medicaid benefits as soon as possible. However, even if you qualify in all other respects, if you have made a gift within five years of applying for Medicaid, you may not qualify. The PA Department of Human Services will penalize you one month of ineligibility for every $10,043.28 you gave away.
No one wants to think about his or her death, but a little preparation in the form of a prepaid funeral contract can be useful. In addition to helping your family after your death, a prepaid funeral contract can be a good way to spend down assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.
A prepaid or pre-need funeral contract allows you to purchase funeral goods and services before you die. The contract can be entered into with a funeral home or cemetery. Prepaid funeral contracts can include payments for: embalming and restoration, room for the funeral service, casket, vault or grave liner, cremation, transportation, permits, headstones, death certificates, and obituaries, among other things.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a system that’s available only to people who have very few assets. As a result, the government is concerned that people will “game the system” by giving away all their assets to family members and then applying for Medicaid shortly afterward. That’s obviously not fair to the taxpayers who support the system.
When you are planning for Medicaid coverage in a nursing home, it’s important to take any IRAs you own into account.
Medicaid applicants can keep only a small amount of resources (usually $2,400) in order to be eligible for benefits. Certain resources may be exempt from this rule. Whether your IRA is exempt often depends on whether it is in “payout status.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a pension benefit to low-income veterans (and their spouses) who are in an assisted living facility or who need help at home with everyday tasks such as dressing or bathing. The program is called “Aid and Attendance.”
Unfortunately for many veterans, the government recently proposed new regulations that will tighten the qualification rules and impose a look-back period and transfer penalties similar to those under Medicaid. As a result of these changes, anyone who may be eligible for Aid and Attendance should probably talk to an attorney about how to proceed.