Throughout the course of your working career, you may have been fortunate enough to have been covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. As such, you may never have needed to qualify for Medicaid to help cover healthcare-related expenses. As a senior, however, you may find yourself turning to Medicaid for help covering the high cost of long-term care for yourself or a spouse. Knowing the eligibility guidelines ahead of time is crucial because you may need to incorporate Medicaid planning into your estate plan to qualify when the time comes that you need help. Toward that end, the Grand Forks Medicaid planning attorneys at German Law | Wealth explain North Dakota senior Medicaid eligibility.
Why Would I Need to Qualify for Medicaid as a Senior?
The longer you live, the higher the odds that you will end up in a nursing home – and the cost of that care will be high. In fact, at an average of over $150,000 a year for 2021, North Dakota has some of the highest LTC costs in the nation. Although you may rely on Medicare to cover most of your healthcare expenses once you retire, you won’t be able to turn to Medicare for LTC expenses because Medicare won’t cover them. Neither will most health insurance policies. It is for this reason that over half of all seniors currently in an LTC facility rely on Medicaid for help paying their bills – because Medicaid does cover LTC.
Qualifying for Medicaid as a Senior in North Dakota
Unless you can afford to pay for LTC out of pocket, you need to know if you will qualify for Medicaid should you need it in the future. To qualify for senior Medicaid in North Dakota:
- You cannot have countable resources (assets) that exceed $3000 if you apply as an individual. If you are married your assets cannot exceed $6,000 if both spouses are applying. Different guidelines apply if you are married and only one spouse applies. If your assets exceed the limit, your application will be denied, and you will have to “spend down” those assets until they fall below the limit.
- Certain assets are exempt for Medicaid eligibility purposes, including:
- Your home (up to an equity limit of $636,000 as of 2022).
- One automobile
- Irrevocable burial trusts
- Personal effects and clothing, household goods, and furniture
- Different asset rules apply if one spouse is in a nursing home and the other spouse remains at home. The spouse receiving the nursing care services is allowed $3000 in assets. The spouse who remains in the community is entitled to keep half of the couple’s countable assets, but not less than $27,480 and not more than $137,400 for 2022.
- Your income cannot exceed the current income limit which is determined by the program you are applying for, your household size, and geographic area. For 2022, an individual cannot have income over $940 a month for most senior Medicaid programs.
How Can Medicaid Planning Help?
If you are concerned about your ability to qualify for Medicaid without putting assets at risk, it is imperative that you incorporate Medicaid planning into your overall estate plan now. Creating a Medicaid planning component within your overall estate plan will ensure that you are not forced into Medicaid spend down or penalized for transferring assets in contemplation of applying for benefits when you need to qualify.
Contact Grand Forks Medicaid Planning Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding Medicaid planning, contact the Grand Forks Medicaid planning attorneys at German Law | Wealth by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.