Medicaid and Your Home

If you believe that you may require nursing home attention in the future, start now to evaluate if and how you would qualify for Medicaid.  Medicaid and Medicare are different financial plans offered by the government. However, Medicare does not cover comprehensive coverage for long term care services. In order to qualify for Medicaid, it is necessary to meet income and asset limits.

One of the first issues that people think about is how to qualify for Medicaid if they own a home.

If you are married, you may have heard that you will have to sell your home if one of you need nursing home care. Or, you may have heard that the government will take your home or that in order to qualify for Medicaid, you should sell your home.

If you live in your home and it is not your vacation home, it is your homestead. If you are within the home equity limit of $572, 000, your homestead is exempt and will not disqualify you from Medicaid.  Even if you go into a nursing home or rehabilitation center for a lengthy period of time, so long as you intend to return to it and it remains your home, it will be exempt.

If you are married, and you live in your homestead, it is not necessary for you to sell your home for you to qualify for Medicaid.  In fact, if you sell your home and you hold the proceeds in the bank, that may disqualify you from Medicaid because of the low threshold placed on assets other than your homestead.

Vacation homes (those that are not your homestead) also will disqualify you from Medicaid.

After you have received benefits, the state may attempt to place a lien on your home. A lien basically provides that the government is entitled to a certain amount of funds equal to a portion of the home’s value depending on the beneficiary’s health care costs.   Seniors who want to retain their home and its value may want to consider a Lady Bird Deed to protect against a Medicaid lien. A Lady Bird deed transfers the ownership of the home without probate and the homeowner does not have to disclose the transfer as a gift under Medicaid rules.

Medicaid also considers the value of your automobile.  If it is your primary transportation, Medicaid will not include it in the $2,000 dollar asset limit for individuals or the $3,000 asset limit for a married couple.   Vehicles more than seven years old will be exempt.   However, “luxury cars” and cars over 25 years old that are classified as antiques or classic cars are not.

It is never too early to seek advice for your long-term health and estate planning needs.

If you would like a free family assessment for assuring that your estate planning, real estate, long term care, and death directives are in place, call Attorney Linda Carley at 386-281-3340. Linda Carley has more than thirty years of legal experience, including serving as a probate judge.