For many seniors faced with paying for the high cost of long-term care (LTC), Medicaid is the only option. To get help from Medicaid though, you must first qualify for the program. Because many seniors who need help from Medicaid are unfamiliar with the program and the eligibility criteria, qualifying for the program can be challenging. To get you started, the Grand Forks Medicaid planning attorneys at German Law explain what you need to know about Medicaid for seniors in Minnesota.
The High Cost of Long-Term Care
Experts tell us that someone turning 65 today stands a 70 percent chance of needing some type of LTC in the future. Almost two out of three seniors who need assistance will be able to receive that care at home; however, that means that more than one in three seniors in need of LTC will need care provided by an assisted living facility or nursing home. The cost of that care can be staggering. Nationally, a senior can expect to pay, on average, about $9,000 per month for LTC provided in an LTC facility. Unfortunately, Minnesota residents pay, on average, significantly more for LTC at around $13,000 per month.
Once you reach retirement age, you may depend on Medicare to cover most healthcare services; however, Medicare will not pay for LTC services provided in a nursing home. Unless you have a long-term care insurance policy or can afford to pay out of pocket, Medicaid may be your only option.
Medicaid for Seniors in Minnesota: Eligibility
The good news is that Medicaid does cover LTC expenses for seniors who meet the Medicaid eligibility requirements. Because Medicaid is a healthcare program that is predominantly funded by the federal government, both income and asset limits apply when determining eligibility. Like many states, Minnesota has several different Medicaid programs that may help seniors pay for long-term care. Each program has its own eligibility guidelines, and the applicable limits will depend on your family size and whether a spouse is applying at the same time or not. Just to make the income and asset limit more confusing, they are subject to change each year to adjust for inflation and/or because of substantive program changes.
The income and asset limits for seniors for 2023 indicate that for most programs a married couple cannot have income that exceeds about $20,000 per year. For most seniors, the asset test used to determine Medicaid eligibility is the most problematic. Again, the value of countable assets a senior can own varies among the different Medicaid programs and will depend on whether both spouses are enrolling. Some senior Medicaid programs in Minnesota cap the value of countable assets at just $6,000 for a married couple while other programs allow you to own up to $18,000 in countable assets. Some assets are exempt when determining Medicaid eligibility. For example, equity in your primary residence, up to $688,000 as of 2023, is exempt if you have an intent to return to the home. Assets of a married couple are also treated differently depending on who applies for Medicaid and whether one spouse intends to remain in the community.
How Do I Apply for Senior Medicaid in Minnesota?
You can apply for senior Medicaid in Minnesota by printing out a paper application, visiting a county or tribal office, or calling 651-431-2670 or 800-657-3739 to ask to have an application mailed to you.
How Can I Prepare to Qualify for Medicaid for Seniors in Minnesota?
The complicated eligibility guidelines and the relatively low income and asset limits can make qualifying for Medicaid for seniors in Minnesota challenging. Unless you are certain you can pay for LTC out of pocket, planning ahead is wise. To do that, discuss the incorporation of a Medicaid planning component into your estate plan with your estate planning attorney.
Contact Grand Forks Medicaid Planning Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about Medicaid for seniors in Minnesota, contact the Grand Forks Medicaid planning attorneys at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.
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