Medicaid Planning: What Can the Healthy Spouse Keep?

Jul 7, 2015

Medicaid-PlanningMedicaid planning is important for many senior citizens, and this may surprise you. The reason why Medicaid is relevant is because Medicare does not pay for living assistance. Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of convalescent care after surgery, but it does not pay for custodial care.

Long-term care is costly, and most people will someday need help with their activities of daily living. Paying out-of-pocket could significantly reduce the inheritances that you always intended to leave to your loved ones.

The Medicaid program does pay for long-term care, and this is why it enters the picture. In fact, Medicaid pays for most of the nursing home care that is received by seniors in the United States.

Rights of Healthy Spouse

Medicaid is a need-based program. It is intended for people who have very limited financial resources. As a result, there is an upper asset limit of just $2000 for an individual.

This is the limit on countable assets. We should point out the fact that some assets do not count. Your home is not considered to be a countable asset, but in 2014 there is an equity limit of $543,000 in Pennsylvania.

One vehicle that is used for transportation is not countable, and your wedding ring, your engagement ring, and any heirloom jewelry that you may have are not considered to be countable assets.

You can also retain ownership of household goods and personal effects.

If one spouse is applying for Medicaid to pay for long-term care while the other spouse is still going to live independently, the healthy spouse is referred to as the community spouse. There is no equity limit at all if the community spouse is remaining in the home.

The healthy spouse is also entitled to a Community Spouse Resource Allowance. This is equal to half of the shared countable assets, but there is a limit. For the rest of 2014, this limit is $117,240 in Pennsylvania.

There is also a minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance. Even if this figure is more than half of the countable assets, the healthy spouse can keep no less than $23,448 in 2014.

Under program rules, most of the income that is brought in by the institutionalized spouse must be used to defray the cost of the care that is being received. However, this requirement is waived if the healthy spouse is relying on some or all of this income.

The healthy spouse may be entitled to a Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance if the income is necessary to provide a minimal standard of living. The maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance in Pennsylvania is $2,931 in 2014, and the minimum is $1939.

Medicaid Planning Consultation

If you have concerns about long-term care costs, our firm can provide you with answers. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a message through this page to set up a consultation: Southampton PA Medicaid Planning.

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Will Medicaid Take My Home?
Medicaid Planning: When Is it Too Late?
Can I Take Back the Assets in My Medicaid Trust?
Do You Have to Impoverish Yourself to Qualify for Medicaid?
Is Medicaid Only for the Poor?
How Can I Find an Elder Law Attorney?

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