Will Medicaid Take My Home?

Jul 22, 2015

asset-protection-2Elder law attorneys frequently help clients who want to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Medicaid is a government health insurance program that is jointly administered by the state government and the federal government.

Some people are confused about Medicare and Medicaid. They are both government health insurance programs, and most people will qualify for Medicare coverage. You gain eligibility by accumulating retirement credits. These credits are accrued when you pay your taxes throughout your working career.

The age of eligibility for Medicare coverage is 65 at the present time.

Medicaid is a need-based health insurance program that is intended to be a safety net for people with very limited financial resources. If you had Medicare coverage, you wouldn’t need Medicaid at first, and you wouldn’t qualify if you have financial resources.

The reason why elder law attorneys counsel clients who are interested in Medicaid coverage is because Medicare does not pay for long-term care.

Most seniors will eventually need help with their activities of daily living, so many elders do seek Medicaid eligibility. In fact, Medicaid pays for most of the nursing home care that is received by seniors in the United States.

Your Home

Because Medicaid is only available to people with financial need, there are some misconceptions out there. Some people think that Medicaid will take their assets if they apply for coverage.

This is not the way that it works. There is an asset limit of $2000, but some things that you own do not count. Your home is not considered to be a countable asset, but there is an equity limit of $543,000 in Pennsylvania in 2014.

If a healthy spouse is remaining in the home, there is no equity limit at all.

As a result, the value of your home will not preclude you from Medicaid eligibility while you are living.

Medicaid will not seize your assets if you apply for coverage, but people do give assets to their loved ones before they submit their applications. This process is called a Medicaid spend down. If you spend down effectively, your assets remain in the family, but you can attain Medicaid coverage.

Medicaid Recovery

The Medicaid program will not take your assets while you are living. If you had assets that exceeded the limits, your application would simply be denied.

However, the state is required to seek recovery from your estate after you pass away. Your home would be in play if you passed away while it was still in your direct possession.

With the proper planning, you can divest yourself of direct personal possession of your home to thwart Medicaid recovery efforts.

Medicaid Planning Consultation

If you would like to learn more about Medicaid planning, contact us through this page to set up a free consultation: Bucks County PA Elder Law Attorneys.


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