If you are a senior in need of long-term nursing home care, your Medicare insurance is not likely to cover it. The good news is that if you cannot afford to pay for nursing home care, there is a chance you may qualify for Medicaid. The following are a few things to understand about Medicaid coverage.
You must meet certain income standards
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid was designed to be a welfare program to help the poor in need of health care; for this reason, there are income limits. Those who make more than this maximum amount will not qualify. However, it should be noted that these income limits vary by state. Although Medicaid is a federal program, it is administered at the state level. States may also have different income limits related to the type of long-term care that is needed by an individual.
There are limits to your personal wealth
Although there are certain assets that are exempt from determining your eligibility for Medicaid, the list is a short one. But these exemptions can be complex. For example, your house will likely be exempt if there is a chance you will be going back to live there in the future. In addition, there are rules regarding assets and married couples. But most assets will need to be sold. The thinking is that if you have assets, they can be used to pay for your nursing home care. And this is exactly what is done. If you qualify by the income standard but not the asset standards, you can sell your assets until you become eligible. This is sometimes called spending down. The proceeds of your asset sales will go for your nursing home care. Once you qualify, Medicaid will begin to pay.
Finding a nursing home and filing for Medicaid
Not every nursing home accepts Medicaid. This is important to understand because once you find that you qualify for Medicaid finding a nursing home can be another problem to be solved. If you are already in a nursing home, but have been using your own money to pay for it, the nursing home may provide assistance in filing an application for Medicaid, . However, every state has a medical assistance office, sometimes called a health and human services department. The people working in this office can help you apply and determine your eligibility.
Keep in mind that most people in need of long-term nursing care are elderly and are likely to have Medicare. This insurance is still valuable and should be kept to pay for health care costs. But the room and board expenses of nursing home care are rarely covered. In this situation, Medicaid can be an important option.