Four Myths about Medicaid Eligibility

  • You must sell all your assets to qualify

FALSE: Certain assets are classified as exempt, such as your home, personal and household items, certain funeral contracts, a burial plot, and income producing real estate. Also, countable assets like cash, certificates of deposit, as well as stocks and bonds can also be converted to exempt assets with no penalty. For married individuals, additional exemptions apply.

  • If you have a Medicare Card, you are not eligible for Medicaid.

FALSE: Though both pay for essential health care services, their eligibility requirements, administration and coverage are different. Medicare does not require financial needs test for those 65 and over, US citizens or permanent residents who worked at least 10 years in covered employment. Medicaid, on the other hand, is based in significant part on financial need.

  • If all your assets are transferred to a trust, you can qualify for Medicaid immediately.

FALSE: The State looks back about 5 years at any transfers made to a trust before granting eligibility. These transfers may cause Medicaid eligibility for a period of time. The only exception to this is the Spousal Annuity Trust, which when setup in compliance with the rules, allows a couple to exempt all their excess assets from being counted and lets applicants become eligible nearly overnight.

  • Once Qualified for Medicaid, the State will pay for all nursing home care.

FALSE: Medicaid covers almost all expenses needed while living in a certified nursing home, except for incidentals. Recipients must use part of their monthly income to help pay their nursing home costs. This amount is called “patient pay amount” and is calculated by an established formula used by Medicaid.

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