Since the average monthly cost of full-time nursing care in Central Ohio is roughly $6,800, it is important to take steps now to ensure that you do not have to spend down all of your assets to qualify. Planning ahead allows you to protect certain assets while allowing you to qualify for benefits. You may also wait until there is a catastrophic health crisis requiring full-time nursing home care, however, your options are significantly reduced. Medicaid eligibility considers two primary factors, countable resources, and income.
Countable Resources – In order to qualify for Medicaid funded institutional care (Medicaid paying for all or a portion of the costs), the applicant (the person entering nursing home care) may not have more than $2,000 in countable resources. A countable resource is cash, or anything of value that is capable of being converted to cash that an applicant can use to pay for support or maintenance. There are certain resources that are exempt from being considered a countable resource, especially if the applicant is married and the spouse is healthy and living in the home.
Income – In order to qualify for Medicaid funded institutional care, the applicant’s monthly income cannot exceed the “special income level” which is adjusted annually. Income is counted on a “gross income” basis from whatever source, regardless whether the income is taxable or non-taxable and no deduction for income taxes is allowed. Only the income of the applicant is considered. However, proceeds from a reverse mortgage or equity line of credit are excluded as income.
To protect and preserve a large portion of your countable resources, Winkler Legal, LLC uses a variety of techniques, including irrevocable trusts, caregiver agreements, Medicaid compliant annuities, promissory notes and gifting strategies to ensure that you and your spouse do not lose your life savings in order to fund your nursing care needs. If you are married and your spouse is healthy, we may be able to shelter a significant portion of your income also.
There is no reason to leave to chance the financial strain caused by foreseeable health care issues. Call Winkler Legal, LLC and schedule a free telephone consultation to learn how we can help you protect your assets.