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Michigan Elder Law Today

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Medicaid Part 11 - Division of Assets


Division of Assets is the name commonly used for the Spousal Impoverishment provisions of the Medicare Catastrophic Act of 1988. This is a federal law that applies only to couples. The intent of the law was to change the eligibility requirements for Medicaid where one spouse needs nursing home care while the other spouse remains in the community, i.e. at home (the "community spouse.


Read more . . .


Monday, June 20, 2011

Medicaid Part 10 - Some Common Questions


Some Common Questions

I’ve added my kids’ names to our bank account. Do they still count?

Yes. The entire amount is considered 100% available to the person applying for Medicaid unless you can prove some or all of the money was contributed by the other person who is on the account. This rule applies to cash assets such as:

  • Savings and checking accounts
  • Credit unit share and draft accounts
  • Certificates of deposit
  • U.S.

Read more . . .


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Medicaid Part 9 - Unavailable Assets


Unavailable Assets and Medicaid

Some assets are considered "unavailable" by Michigan's Department of Human Services when qualifying for Medicaid. This means you can keep these assets and qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits. These are usually going to be assets registered in certain types of Trusts. Trusts with long-term care planning provisions may be created and funded by an applicant or a spouse, and the assets may be used to provide for the needs of the applicant or spouse without the assets being categorized as countable resources for Medicaid. These exceptions are as follows:

  • Assets registered in a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust or an Irrevocable Trust for VA (Veterans) Purposes if more than 5 years have passed since ownership of the assets was registered in the trust.

Read more . . .


Friday, June 17, 2011

Medicaid Part 8 - Countable Assets


All other assets are generally non-exempt, and are countable.  Basically, all money and property, and any item that can be valued and turned into cash, is a countable asset unless it is one of those assets listed above as exempt. This includes:

  • Cash, savings, and checking accounts, credit union shares and draft accounts
  • Certificates of deposit
  • U.S. Savings Bonds
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), Keogh plans (401K, 403B)
  • Prepaid funeral contracts which can be canceled
  • Assets registered in a Revocable Living Trust
  • Real estate (other than the residence)
  • More than one car
  • Stocks, bonds or mutual funds
  • Land contracts or mortgages held on real estate sold

While the Medicaid rules themselves are complicated and tricky, it’s safe to say that a single person will qualify for Medicaid as long as she has only exempt assets plus a small amount of cash and/or money in the bank, not exceeding $2,000.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Medicaid Part 7 - Exempt Assets


To qualify for Medicaid, applicants must pass some fairly strict tests on the amount of assets they can keep. That means you either qualify for Medicaid on a particular date or you do not. What I mean by that is when the caseworker at the Department of Human Services reviews your application, they cannot qualify you for Medicaid if they think that would be fair, if you paid a lot in taxes, or if you have already spent a lot of your money on your own care. Under Michigan's Medicaid rules, all of that is irrelevant. It's not like a divorce case where a judge divides up the couple's assets based on what the judge thinks is fair.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Medicaid Part 6 - Why Seek Advice About Medicaid?


As life expectancies and long term care costs continue to rise, the challenge quickly becomes how to pay for these services. Many people cannot afford to pay $6,800.00 per month or more for the cost of a nursing home in southeast Michigan, and those who can pay for a while may find their life savings wiped out in a matter of months, rather than years. Moreover, many people transition to a nursing home after having substantially spent down their funds paying for home care or assisted living care for months or years.  The result is whatever money is left, needs to be protected.
Read more . . .


Monday, June 13, 2011

Medicaid Part 5 - Medicaid


Medicaid is a benefit program which is primarily funded by the federal government and administered by each state. Sometimes the rules can vary from state to state, which adds to the misinformation about what can be done to protect assets when qualifying for Medicaid. The information on my website is about Michigan's Medicaid program.

One primary benefit of Medicaid is that, unlike Medicare (which only pays for skilled nursing), the Medicaid program will pay for long term care in a nursing home once you’ve qualified. Medicare does not pay for treatment for all diseases or conditions.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Medicaid Part 4 - What About Medicare?


In considering how to pay for nursing home care in Michigan, one of the first issues that comes up is if Medicare pays for nursing home care.  There is a great deal of confusion about Medicare and Medicaid, probably in part due to their very similar names.

Medicare is the federally funded health insurance program primarily designed for people age 65 and older.  It is national health insurance for everyone over age 65 and has been in place since the 1960’s. There are some limited long term care benefits that can be available under Medicare.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Medicaid Part 3 - How to Pay for Nursing Home Care


Along with getting good quality of care for the nursing home resident, the major concern is how to pay for it when it costs $6,600 or more a month. There are, essentially, just four ways to cope with such astronomical costs:

1. Long Term Care Insurance - If you are fortunate enough to have this type of coverage, it may go a long way toward paying the cost of the nursing home. Unfortunately, long term care insurance has only started to become somewhat popular in the last few years and most people facing a nursing home stay do not have this coverage. Even if the nursing home resident has long term care insurance, it may not pay the full cost of the nursing home bill.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Medicaid Part 2: the Six Tests to Qualify for Medicaid Nursing Home Benefits


There are six tests or criteria that have to be met in order to qualify for Medicaid in a Michigan nursing home.

1.  Medical Need:    To be eligible for long-term care Medicaid benefits, the person must meet certain medical and functional eligibility criteria, i.e., they must need custodial care in a nursing home.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Overview of Medicaid - Part 1


This is the first in a series of blog posts which will provide an overview of qualifying for Medicaid nursing home benefits in Michigan.

Long-term care is expensive, whether at home, in assisted living, or in a nursing home.  With nursing home care costing about $6,500 a month or more in the Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County areas of Metro Detroit, many people cannot afford to pay for nursing home care for a very long time.

These costs, for the most part, are not covered by Medicare.  They are, on the other hand, covered at least partially by long-term care insurance.


Read more . . .


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