“My mom is being discharged from rehab next week to a nursing home and it will cost $8,500 per month! What can we do to protect her assets so she doesn’t go broke?” This is a common issue we deal with in our office. In fact, just yesterday, I had a family in that same exact situation. I’ll share what the plan we utilized is, so that if you’re living in Michigan facing the devastating cost of nursing home long-term costs, you’ll know there are options other than spending down all family’s money until you’re destitute.
Mom is Going to Be Discharged, Now What?
The first step is to have a care plan. Often we’ll bring in an Elder Care Coordinator to assist with putting together a discharge plan because often, the hospital or rehab facility will just say “Mom’s being discharged next week, you figure it out…” We need to find a community for mom, and find one as soon as possible. There are a lot of factors that go into finding an appropriate care facility. One of those factors includes how will the family pay for the long-term care. For example, if its a skilled nursing home, do they have Medicaid beds available, or do they play the game of not having beds available until your private pay for a period of time?
Michigan Nursing Home Medicaid Explained
First it is important to understand what Michigan Nursing Home Medicaid is. Michigan Nursing Home Medicaid is a jointly funded, Federal-State health care program for persons who are financially eligible. Medicaid provides care for acute medical needs, rehabilitation, and long-term care mainly in skilled nursing facilities.
Michigan Nursing Home Medicaid Asset Limit and Look back Period
Medicaid has an asset limit where a individual can only have $2,000 in countable assets if they want to qualify.
Most people think that they have to give all their assets away to qualify for Medicaid in Michigan, however, that is not the case. While there is a 5 year look back, meaning Michigan looks back 5 years to see if you moved money around and will penalize you if you did; there are a variety of “crisis” plans available to Certified Elder Law Attorneys where they can help families protect money well inside that 5 year window.
How To Protect Mom’s Assets from Michigan Medicaid Nursing Home Spend down
When we met with the family to talk about protecting their mother’s assets, we reviewed a plan that would protect over half of her assets. She had roughly $150,000 in countable assets at this point and was entering a nursing home within a week with a $8500 per month bill.
Option 1. Spend $8500 a month until their mother ran out of money and ran out of options. There would be no funds to improve her quality of life, pay for additional caregivers or services. She’d be flat out of options.
Option 2. Engage in a Medicaid Crisis plan where we would shelter over half of her assets, while the other half would have to goto the nursing home over a period of months to cover her divestment penalty. By engaging in the is planning the family was able to keep over $80,000 in assets that would not have to go directly to the nursing home and qualify for Medicaid within half the time by submitting a Medicaid application immediately. Also in this situation, their mother was the surviving spouse of a veteran and we were able to bring in an additional $1,120 per month, tax free, to help pay her cost of care during the private pay period.
The Next Step if You Have a Loved One in a Nursing Home
If you have a loved one in a nursing home and are concerned about them running out of money, have them contact our Michigan Medicaid Planning Lawyer office immediately at (888) 390-4360, because every month you wait your family is losing thousands of dollars a month.
Another option if you want to learn more is to attend one of our Free, Fast Paced, LifeCare Planning Workshops where we talk about how to protect your (or your family’s) assets from the devastating cost of long-term care.