estate planning law firm

Should I Spend Assets, so Spouse’s Nursing Home Stay Is Covered by Medicaid?

Protecting the life you have built for people you love.
Book an Initial Call
November 19, 2022 •  Emily Hicks Law, PLLC
My spouse is going to have to move to a nursing home. When spending down assets for the sick spouse to qualify for Medicaid, does it have to be done before sick spouse is sent to a nursing home or can it be done even after the sick spouse is admitted to a nursing home?

MarketWatch’s recent article entitled “Do I have to spend my assets before Medicaid will pay for my spouse’s nursing home?” cautions that the rules for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care are very complicated. Medicaid is the federal-state safety net program for healthcare, and it pays for nursing home care.

However, to qualify, nursing home residents must prove that they’re impoverished under Medicaid’s rules. These rules are different in each state.

In Florida, to be eligible, the nursing home residents must have “countable” assets of fewer than $2,000. Almost all assets are counted against this limit except for the resident’s home, which isn’t countable provided its fair market value (less any mortgage) is less than $636,000 (in 2022).

If the nursing home resident is married, their spouse — known as the “community” spouse — is limited to $137,400 (in 2022) in countable assets. This is known as the community spouse resource allowance or “CSRA.”

The process of spending down is spending savings until the couple’s assets are below the combined limit of $139,400. This spending can be for anything that benefits either spouse, whether it involves paying off debts, such as a mortgage or line of credit on the house, fixing up the house, buying a car, or even the healthy spouse taking a much-needed vacation.

The only thing they can’t do is give the money away. The sooner a couple spends down, the sooner the nursing home spouse will qualify for Medicaid coverage and the sooner they’ll be able to stop paying the nursing home out-of-pocket.

As is often the case with Medicaid planning, the best strategy may be different in different situations. Consult with an experienced Medicaid elder law attorney.

Reference: MarketWatch (Oct. 22, 2022) “Do I have to spend my assets before Medicaid will pay for my spouse’s nursing home?”

Suggested Key Terms: Elder Law Attorney, Medicaid, Community” Spouse, Paying for a Nursing Home, Medicaid Trust Planning, Medicaid Nursing Home Planning, Medicaid Planning Lawyer

Join Our eNewsletter
Join Our eNewsletter
Stay informed and updated by subscribing to our eNewsletter!
Join Our eNewsletter
Integrity Marketing Solutions - Estate Planning Marketing
Powered by