Five More Medicaid Myths

1. Myth: “I can find out all I need to know about Medicaid from the nursing home or the Medicaid agency.

The Truth: The Medicaid law is very complex and counter-intuitive. It was written by Congress, after all! The nursing homes and Medicaid agencies do not have lawyers to interpret the law in your favor.

2. Myth: “I have to lose my home and everything I own to get Medicaid assistance.”

The Truth: A person is permitted to own “exempt property” and be eligible for Medicaid. In addition the “community spouse” is entitled to keep a share of the assets. Further, some other assets are simply not counted by Medicaid. The trick comes in knowing what is “countable” under the Medicaid rules. The bottom line is, you don’t need to lose everything to be Medicaid eligible.

3. Myth: “I can keep all of my separate property when my spouse gets Medicaid.”

The Truth: When a married person applies for Medicaid, assets in either or both spouse’s name are considered by the Medicaid agency.

4. Myth: “If I put my property into my spouse’s name, I will be eligible for Medicaid.”

The Truth: All assets are counted, regardless of which spouse’s name they are in. If either spouse’s name is on the property, it is included. This includes IRAs, inheritances, property jointly owned with children and insurance policies for example.

5. Myth: “I must spend half of our assets before I can get Medicaid for my spouse.”

The Truth: A community spouse can keep half, up to approximately, $109,000, in countable assets, excluding non countable assets.  Any more than that will either spent or converted into non-countable assets. This is the “spend down” process.

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