Paying for Long -Term Care and Medicaid Eligibility

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Jun 21, 2011

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Colorado - Denver Metro , Colorado - Denver North Metro , Colorado - Denver South Metro

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Paying for Long-Term Care and Medicaid Eligibility
One of the most critical needs faced by a person who is chronically ill is the need to pay for care in a nursing home or in an assisted living facility. Unfortunately, this is expensive, with the average cost of care in a nursing home in the State of Colorado at $6,394 monthly (that doesn't include extras such as Medicare copayments and personal needs). Since many senior citizens don't have that kind of income, they are placed in a position where their savings are at risk. Long-term care insurance is frequently not an option because its expensive and cant be purchased once someone has a diagnosis like Alzheimer's.
The last resort for payment for long-term care is qualifying for Medicaid. You can apply at the local county department of human services. In Colorado, most nursing homes accept Medicaid as a form of payment and offer good basic care to Medicaid beneficiaries.
You need to have income and assets below certain levels to get Medicaid. The maximum amount of income depends on the county in which the nursing home (or assisted living facility) is located. In most of the metropolitan Denver counties, the income maximum is $6,914 monthly for 2011. In Douglas County, it is $6,412 monthly.
In terms of assets, a married couple (when only one of you is applying) can own a home regardless of its value. They can also own one car, an unlimited amount of household goods and personal effects, and an irrevocable prepaid burial plan, regardless of value. On top of that, the spouse who needs Medicaid can have $2,000 in other assets. The spouse who doesn't need Medicaid can have $109,560 in other assets (this figure can be increased under certain circumstances). The spouse staying at home may be eligible to keep a portion of the institutionalized spouses income, if they can show that they need it. Single people don't have as much ability to shelter assets but some advance planning can help.
Trusts and annuities frequently cause problems with respect to Medicaid eligibility and should be used carefully. Otherwise, Medicaid benefits could be lost needlessly.
The best advice is to consult someone knowledgeable in the field of Medicaid planning well in advance. Careful future planning can save dollars without losing Medicaid eligibility, and can remove much of the fear and uncertainty people experience when someone gets sick.

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Bernard A. Poskus, Esq. He is an Attorney at Poskus, Caton & Klein, P.C. and may be reached at 303-832-1600. For more information visit Poskus, Caton & Klein, P.C. on the web at: www.poskuscatonklein.com.

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