Planning for long-term care can be quite an undertaking. The costs of nursing homes in Indiana and nationwide average about $80,000-$100,000 annually for a semi-private or private room. Many seniors look to their state’s Medicaid program to help with those costs. The rules for getting Medicaid assistance for long-term nursing home care vary, but one commonality is that the program does focus on your assets.
Qualifying for Medicaid
The income guidelines for Medicaid assistance for nursing home care allow less than $5,000 in monthly income and combined assets. The higher your assets are above the income guidelines, the more Medicaid will look to your estate to offset costs.
If you have assets and income above the amount set by Medicaid, you have options to reduce those amounts to fall within the guidelines. Liquidating your assets to qualify for Medicaid assistance is a complex plan known as Medicaid spend-down.
Which assets count towards Medicaid spend-down?
Since Medicaid is state aid, your state can determine what assets are countable or non-countable. Summarily, any amount over the income guidelines is countable. Here is a brief list of typical countable assets:
- Life insurance policies with cash value over $2,500
- CDs, stocks, bonds and other bank accounts
- Property other than primary residence
On the other hand, some assets don’t count toward the income limit. Here is a brief list of non-countable assets:
- 401(k)s and IRAs
- Prepaid funeral and burial expense policies
- Life insurance policies up to $2,500
Medicaid trusts can help with long-term care costs. Your assets are secured and disbursed by your chosen trustee. Estate planning with the proper tools such as a Medicaid trust can relieve worries about future long-term care needs. Learning which options are available to you will help you protect your assets and give you peace of mind.