Question

How To Qualify For Medicaid Without Going Broke In A Nursing Home In Louisiana?

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Peter J. Losavio, Jr. - Elder Law - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Peter J. Losavio, Jr.

Located in Baton Rouge, LALosavio and DeJean, LLC

Baton Rouge, LA
Phone: 225-769-4200
Fax: 225-769-2864

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There are strategies to protect your assets from the nursing home if you or your spouse need to go into a nursing home.  You must act as quickly as possible to qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid and attendance.  The planning can be divided into two types: long-term planning or crisis planning.

Long-term planning is for individuals who can reasonably expect not to go into a nursing home for at least 60 months.  Crisis planning, on the other hand, is for individuals who are going into a nursing home within the next 60 months or who are already in a nursing home.  Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to protect an individual’s assets even if that person is already in a nursing home. 


Medicaid has a 60-month look back.  Any assets transferred within 60 months of applying for Medicaid will result in a penalty for Medicaid.  For example, every $5,000.00 transferred will result in a one-month penalty for Medicaid.  Medicaid is very complex and complicated.  There are many exceptions to Medicaid’s 5-year lookback period.

Because Medicaid can seek recovery against the family home to cover the expenses of nursing home care, hospitalization, home community waiver service, and drug costs; one of the most important assets to be protected is the family home.

For a married couple, the first step in protecting the home is to transfer the interest in the home from the institutionalized spouse (the spouse living in a nursing home) to the spouse who is well.  Additional actions need to be taken to protect the home if the institutionalized spouse would become ill.

There are other exceptions and strategies to protect the home besides transferring the home to the non-institutionalized spouse.

In the situation where a person is in the nursing home or is going into the nursing home within the next 60 months, there are crisis strategies to protect assets from the Medicaid spend-down.  For a married couple, one of the main protection strategies is the purchase of Medicaid compliant annuities, which are considered a non-resource by Medicaid.  For a single person in a crisis situation, reallocating assets may protect the individual’s assets from the Medicaid spend-down. 

In most cases, the strategy of gift and purchase of a Medicaid compliant annuity will save approximately 50% of the assets.  However, every situation is different and requires careful analysis and planning to fit that person’s unique situation.  For example, not all annuities are Medicaid compliant annuities, and not all Medicaid compliant annuities will work in all situations.  Any strategy will have its advantages and disadvantages.  Not only will we advise you of the advantages and disadvantages of all courses of action available to you, but we will also recommend the best approach for you, your family, and your resources.

Applying for Medicaid can be an overwhelming task, but we are here to help.  Please contact our firm so we can advise and guide you through the Medicaid process.

Protect Your Assets and Your Quality of Life

An experienced attorney can help you address the financial difficulties you are likely to face.  Support from a compassionate, skilled, and knowledgeable legal team can save you money and help you build a better quality of life.

If you are single, and you need long-term care, Medicaid allows you to keep $2,000.00.  Married couples who both need long-term care are allowed to keep $3,000.00.  If only one spouse needs Medicaid, the other spouse can keep $126,420.00 in total resources.  You are also not allowed to have given anything of value as a gift within the five years before you applied for Medicaid.

If you don’t have a plan to protect your assets, Medicaid will take your monthly income and allow you to keep only $38.00 per month to cover your personal expenses (including over-the-counter medications).

For most people, that is not enough to cover their needs or maintain their quality of life.  An attorney can help you prevent this by helping you to reallocate your assets, so you do not have to spend down to Medicaid’s resource limits.

Bad Legal Advice May Be A Disaster

Elder law is complex, complicated, and confusing.  If you do not receive the proper legal advice, the results may be disastrous for you, your family, and your finances.  You want an experienced, specialized attorney to advise and guide you through this emotional and challenging situation.

The National Elder Law Foundation, as accredited by the American Bar Association, has awarded less than 500 attorneys throughout the United States to be designated as a Certified Elder Law Attorney.  Peter J. Losavio, Jr., is one of those 500 designated attorneys and is the only one awarded the Certified Elder Law Attorney designation in the state of Louisiana.  In addition to being the only designated Elder Law Attorney, he is also a board-certified specialist in the field of estate planning and administration by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization, a Louisiana board-certified tax specialist, and an accredited advisor by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Based on his experience, education, and specialization; he is qualified to counsel and represent you about the legal and financial aspects of health and long-term planning, public benefits, special needs planning, administration of estates, and implementation of decisions concerning these matters.

Many people come to our firm after spending tens of thousands of dollars and being advised that there was nothing they could do to avoid nursing home poverty.  That advice is wrong.  Nursing home poverty is a voluntary decision.  If you take no action to protect yourself, you will become destitute.  You can lose everything you spent your life working for just because you hired an attorney who gives you bad advice.

It is never too late to protect your resources.  We can help you.  Please contact us at 225-769-4200 for a free telephone consolation.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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