There is a misconception that one should plan on applying for Medicaid only after all the money has been spent on care. Most nursing facilities aren’t going to go out of their way to tell you all of the ways you can actively plan to preserve assets while applying for Medicaid. But there are a number of planning techniques to preserve assets for the family while ensuring that Medicaid will pay for nursing home care. There is another, related misconception that nothing can be done if you didn’t plan for more than five years prior to your need for long-term care.
Even an individual with very little income can take steps to protect half or more of their assets and still qualify for Medicaid. Or, in the case of a married couple, assets that would otherwise be spent on nursing home bills can be used to make the spouse at home have more monthly income, pay less in monthly bills, put a new roof on the house, buy a new car, etc. An individual still residing at home or in independent living might enter into a care agreement with a family caregiver, compensating that individual for providing needed care.
In reality, most “Medicaid planning” involves identifying opportunities to preserve assets or use those assets to maintain and support the well spouse just months before an application is filed. An experienced Elder Law attorney can help identify those opportunities, guide you through the process and execution of a plan, and ensure that a Medicaid application is approved.