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Medicaid Myths

  1. Giving away everything I own is the only way to get Medicaid. In fact, giving everything away can sometimes prevent you from receiving Medicaid!   But you do not have to be destitute to qualify. You can own a home, a vehicle, some life insurance and personal property, and a limited amount of resources. It is especially easy to qualify a married individual for Long-term Care Medicaid if the spouse remains in the home, even if they have over the $109,560 allowed in assets allowed for a married couple.

  2. The Medicaid office will answer all of my questions regarding Medicaid eligibility criteria before I apply. Most of the time, they will not.  They usually provide you with income and resource guidelines that are factually correct but very misleading because of nuances in their practical application.  Sometimes they encourage you to apply to see if you are eligible even though application at the wrong time could result in unnecessary periods of ineligibility.   They sometimes tell you to spend down all of your money before applying when this is not always the best strategy.

  3. Once I am in a nursing home it is too late to protect any assets. While you may have lost the opportunity to use some of the easier strategies, it is never too late to protect some if not all of the remaining assets.

  4. The nursing home will provide guidance in Medicaid application.  This is not always the case.  Because of high employee turnover and lack of adequate training, many nursing home staffs are not knowledgeable of Medicaid policy.  They can even create problems for the family by quoting misinformation or referring all applicants to Medicaid regardless of income and resource levels. 

  5. Medicare pays for nursing home care.  Medicare only covers a portion of the care costs in specialized medical units within the nursing facility and for very limited periods of time.  The vast majority of nursing home patients do not fit the medical criteria for any Medicare payments.

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