If you are currently enjoying your retirement years, or will be soon, the likelihood that you (or your spouse) will need long-term care is a real concern. The high cost of LTC means that paying for LTC may involve qualifying for Medicaid benefits. You may, however, be concerned about relying on Medicaid because of the asset rules. Once upon a time, qualifying for Medicaid could result in leaving a community spouse without sufficient assets to survive; however, that is no longer the case thanks to the Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment rules.A North Andover area Medicaid planning attorney at DeBruyckere Law Offices updates you on the Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Guidelines for 2020.
How Much Will Long-Term Care Cost You?
New Hampshire residents can expect to pay, on average about $125,000 a year for long-term care (LTC). Unfortunately, neither Medicare nor most private health insurance policies will pay for that care. Medicaid does cover LTC expenses, if you qualify for benefits. As you may have heard, Medicaid eligibility is based, in part, on an applicant’s income and “countable resources.” Both limits are relatively low. Of even greater concern is the impact your efforts to qualify for Medicaid will have on your community spouse (a spouse that is not in LTC).
Understanding the Medicaid Income and Resource Standards
Certain Medicaid income and resource standards are adjusted beginning each January in accordance with changes in the SSI federal benefit rate (FBR) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Many states offer, for example, categorical eligibility to individuals who are not receiving SSI but who meet the financial eligibility requirements of the program, as authorized by 1902(a)(10)(A)(ii)(I) of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). Similarly, most states have adopted the “special income level” institutional eligibility category authorized under Section 1902(a)(10)(A)(ii)(V) of the Act, the maximum income standard for which is 300% of the SSI FBR. Additionally, certain eligibility standards relating to coverage of long-term services and supports, including the home equity limitation in Section 1917(f) of the Act and elements of the spousal impoverishment statute in Section 1924, are increased each year based on increases in the CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
Spousal Impoverishment Guidelines for 2020
According to the figures released for 2020 by the federal government, a “community spouse” may keep as much as $128,640 without jeopardizing the Medicaid eligibility of the spouse who is receiving long-term care. Known as the “Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA), this is the most that a state may allow a community spouse to retain without a hearing or a court order. While some states set a lower maximum, the least that a state may allow a community spouse to retain in 2020 will be $25,728. New Hampshire is one of the states that uses the maximum standards as set forth by the federal government.
In addition, the maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance (MMMNA) for 2020 will be $3,216. This is the most in monthly income that a community spouse is allowed to have if his/her own income is not enough to live on and he/she needs some or all of the institutionalized spouse’s income. The minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance for the lower 48 states remains $2,113.75 until July 1, 2020. New Hampshire also uses the maximum MMMNA of $3,216.
Contact a North Andover Area Medicaid Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions about the spousal impoverishment guidelines, or about Medicaid planning in general, contacta North Andover area Medicaid planning attorney at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.
Medicaid planning utilizes legal strategies and tools to protect your assets and ensure that you qualify for Medicaid if you need to down the road.
Your application for Medicaid could be denied and you would have to “spend-down” those excess assets before applying again for benefits.
No. Doing so may run afoul of the Medicaid “look-back” rule and may result in Medicaid imposing a waiting period during which you will not be eligible for Medicaid benefits.
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