For some individuals, long-term care can only be afforded while receiving Medicaid benefits. Unfortunately for many Americans their estate and assets are counted against them when applying for Medicaid. This leaves individuals at the mercy of the nursing homes and their assets subject to spend down. While depleting your assets is one way of becoming eligible for Medicaid, there are other ways you can receive the care you need and hold onto your estate.
Planning ahead is key when trying to preserve your estate before long-term care is necessary. However, health is not a certainty, and even if you and your spouse are healthy now, that doesn't mean you will be in five years. In order to avoid nursing home spend down for Medicaid eligibility, you must make the proper changes to your estate at least five years before you enter a long-term care facility.
Depending on your assets, estate size and anticipated health care needs, you may wish to set up a trust that transfers your assets to another before a nursing home can get their hands on them. You might choose to purchase an annuity, or simply sell your home and other property outright. With so many different choices, it may be best to speak to a skilled elder law or estate planning attorney.
Nobody wants to depend on long-term care, but if you are like millions of other Americans each year that do, chances are you will become victim of nursing home spend down if you don't plan accordingly. Knowing your estate and assets are well protected and set aside for your loved ones is much better than knowing they're being slowly depleted.