Popular Medicaid Myths
The idea of having to move into an assisted living community or nursing home environment is not
appealing to a great many people. However, it's estimated that about 43% of everyone age 65 and
over will use a nursing home at some point in their lives. Paying for nursing home care is often very
difficult, and these expenses are not covered under Medicare. However, Medicaid pays for about 50%
of the nation’s long-term care spending costs. There are many myths surrounding Medicaid and
Medicaid eligibility, so let's look at a couple of them to clear things up.
Myth 1: If I need to go to a nursing home, my spouse will have to sell everything.
Spouses of those who enter extended care facilities and use Medicaid to pay for the expenses are
protected under the Medicare program. Nursing home resident spouses are allowed to keep a little
over $113,000 as a community spouse resource allowance, or CSRA. This allowance does not include
the value of personal property, a personal automobile, as well as a home, which are also protected.
Myth 2: If I give away my assets I will still be eligible for Medicaid.
This isn't true. Medicaid has a five-year “look back” time period. Any gifts you give during that time
cannot exceed the maximum asset level you need in order to qualify for Medicaid. If you're gifts go
over this limit, you won't be able to qualify for the Medicaid program and will have to pay for long-
term care yourself until the five-year period passes.
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