|Posted by Edna & Roger Boisjoli on April 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM|
There are an estimated 78 million Baby Boomers. Approximately 11 million Baby Boomers will require some type of nursing home care. Many of these individuals are not planning for their long-term care and will rely on Medicaid.
Medicaid is a state program that is reimbursed by the federal government. Different states provide different levels of care for different individuals. If you become dependent on Medicaid to pay for long-term care, here are some important facts you should know:
To qualify for Medicaid, you must be below asset and income thresholds. Otherwise, you will have to self-pay or engage in some sort of "spend-down" of your assets until you qualify for Medicaid.
If Medicaid pays for your long-term care, after you pass away (with few exceptions) Medicaid will assert what is called "Medicaid Estate Recovery" against your estate to recoup what is paid. This means that assets that you thought were going to pass to your family will be taken to repay Medicaid for amounts spent on your long-term care.
If you simply try to "give away" your assets prior to going into a nursing home, you could actually be disqualifying yourself from receiving Medicaid long-term care benefits and you may have other problems such as state gift tax liability (depending on your state of residence).
In Canada, if you don’t have the resources to fund the costs of your long-term care, you can apply to the province for a reduction; however, you are required to apply for all available government funding such as Canada Pension and Old Age Security. (Unlike the United States, there is no recovery of assets after your death for government funding paid on your behalf.)
So, what is the solution to this problem? The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with knowledge – take advantage of your LegalShield membership and contact your provider firm to find out what benefits your state or province provides. Ask questions about Medicaid and long-term care planning. Talk to an attorney at your provider firm about what you can do to avoid the need for or to plan for utilizing Medicaid and other government benefits. Finally, make sure your last will and testament, powers of attorney and living will are in place and up to date. The younger you are when you start to deal with these issues, the more options you will have to make certain your assets pass to your intended beneficiaries at death.