I often meet with clients who have been told by friends, relatives, sometimes even financial advisors or medical professionals, that it is too late to protect assets if there was no plan already in place prior to a nursing home admission. This is simply not true in most cases. There are legal ways to protect assets, even if you, or a loved one, have already been admitted to a Medicaid-certified skilled care facility.
Medicare may only cover up to the first 100 days in a skilled care nursing facility. The first 20 of those days are 100% covered by Medicare. As of January 1, 2020, days 21 through 100 are subject to a $176.00 daily co-pay, which is often covered under a good Medicare supplement, or Medigap, insurance plan.
However, I am finding that it is exceedingly rare for the full 100 days to be authorized. Once the Medicare days have ended, then the cost of the nursing home must be paid in full by the nursing home resident each month. Sometimes, my clients have long-term care insurance policies which cover all, or some, of the nursing home cost. The out-of-pocket expense for nursing home costs can be a real financial burden, with or without long-term care insurance. Is there anything that can be done to protect assets at this point? Most of the time, the answer is “yes”. Medicaid is a state and federal program which can cover much of the cost of the nursing home for those who are financially eligible. In order to become financially eligible, a customized Medicaid plan will need to be developed and implemented.
There are legal ways to protect nearly all of the assets, including the home and other real estate, in cases where one spouse is in a skilled care nursing home and the “healthy” spouse is living at home, in an apartment, or at an assisted-living facility. In single or widowed cases, we can often protect half or more of the assets, including the home in most cases.
I have built a team of Medicaid planners who have, over a combined decade of experience in handling these types of cases, guided my clients throughout the entire Medicaid-eligibility process. If you would like to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your, or your loved one’s, case, please call or text (812) 423‑1500.