By the time you reach your retirement years, you will stand about a 50 percent chance of eventually needing long-term care (LTC). The cost of that care could deplete your life savings in short order if you failed to plan ahead. Planning ahead means including Medicaid planning in your overall estate plan long before you need LTC. Like many seniors who eventually turn to the Medicaid program for assistance covering the high cost of nursing home care, you may know very little about the Medicaid program. In order to understand the need to plan ahead, it helps to learn more about the New Hampshire Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Will You Need Long-Term Care?
Although there is no way to know with any certainty whether you, or your spouse, will end up in a nursing home or other LTC facility, statistics tell us that at age 65 you stand a 50-50 chance of eventually needing LTC. If you make it to age 85, your odds of needing nursing home care increase to about a 75 percent likelihood. Given those odds, it only makes sense to plan for the possibility that you, or a spouse, will end up in LTC.
How Will You Pay for LTC?
The reason you need to plan for the strong possibility that you will need LTC at some point down the road is because if you do end up in a nursing home, paying for it will be costly. In the State of New Hampshire, the average cost of a year in a semi-private room in a nursing home facility is almost $117,000. If you want a private room, expect to pay $123,000 a year. In just ten years, experts expect those figures to increase by about $40,000 a year, bringing the expected cost to $157,000 and $165,000 respectively. With an average length of stay of 2.5 years, it becomes clear how easily your retirement nest egg could be depleted if you had to pay for LTC out of your pocket. What about insurance though? Unfortunately, most health insurance policies exclude LTC unless the insured purchased a separate LTC rider. Medicare won’t help you either because it also excludes LTC except under very limited circumstances. It is for these reasons that about half of all seniors turn to Medicaid for help covering their LTC costs.
New Hampshire Medicaid Benefits
Fortunately for many seniors who need nursing home care, Medicaid does cover LTC expenses. Medicaid is a health insurance program that is primarily funded by the federal government, though the individual states have the option to supplement funding and are always responsible for administering the program. Medicaid is a “needs based” program, meaning that an applicant must show a need for assistance in order to qualify.
New Hampshire Medicaid Eligibility Guidelines
New Hampshire Medicaid offers a number of different programs, including a “Nursing Home Care” program which is part of the larger Long Term Care program. To be eligible for benefits that will help cover your nursing home costs, the following guidelines apply:
- Must have net monthly income less than the rate Medicaid pays to the facility. After expenses and deductions, an individual’s income is used to offset the costs of care with the balance paid by Medicaid.
- Resource limit cannot exceed $2,500.
- $65 of income is allowed for personal expenses. Some income may be allocated to meet the needs of a spouse or legal dependent.
In addition, Medical eligibility will be determined by an in-person, face-to-face assessment by a registered nurse employed or designated by the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services, or BEAS. Nurses will use a comprehensive, objective assessment instrument, the Medical Eligibility Determination (MED) form to determine Nursing Facility Level of Care, medical eligibility and service options for the long term care program. Nurses will use a comprehensive, objective assessment instrument, the Medical Eligibility Determination (MED) form to determine Nursing Facility Level of Care, medical eligibility, and service options for the long term care program.
Because your income and assets must fall below the program limits in order to be eligible, you will need to include Medicaid planning in your overall estate plan well ahead of time if you wish to protect your excess assets from the Medicaid spend-down requirement.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding New Hampshire Medicaid eligibility, contact the experienced New Hampshire Medicaid planning attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.