Frequently Asked Questions
Three Big Myths of Medicaid: Learn the facts about New York Medicaid Qualification
Debunking three of Medicaid’s most common myths:
- MYTH: “Medicaid can take your home.”
THE TRUTH: No, they cannot take your home. Nor do they want to.
If you’re married, and you or your spouse needs to go into a nursing home, your home is exempt from Medicaid’s calculation of what your contribution to the cost of care should be. If you are single (unmarried or widowed) and you go into a nursing home, your house may be exempt if you follow certain procedures. Married people must be careful, however. If one spouse dies, the home may become available to Medicaid if you have not made adequate plans prior.
- MYTH: “To protect your assets, you must give them away.”
THE TRUTH: You don’t have to give away your assets to protect them.
Medicaid law provides specific rules for determining the amount (if any) you may be asked to contribute to the cost of nursing home care for your spouse. While it may be necessary to legally protect some portion of your assets, there is no reason to give them away. Through the use of our exclusive MPS™ trademarked protection trusts, the Estate Planning Law Center can help you retain control over your assets, now and in the future, without them being at risk to Medicaid.
- MYTH: “If you give your assets away, you must wait 60 months to qualify for Medicaid.”
THE TRUTH: There is no such rule.
This is a common misunderstanding. Think of it this way: When you go to qualify for Medicaid, picture yourself bringing a box with you. In that box is every financial transaction you’ve made for the previous 60 months. That is all you need to account for – if you made a transaction 61 months ago, it’s not in the box. So 60 months is just the size of the “box”… it’s that simple.
However, this has nothing to do with determining your qualification for Medicaid. It is what Medicaid sees in the “box” that determines whether you will qualify. If you make the proper planning decisions, you may qualify immediately even if the “box” contains information that might otherwise make you ineligible for Medicaid. Rule of thumb: Never apply for Medicaid until you are certain you qualify. Otherwise, you may have to wait longer than sixty months.