Paying for Nursing Home Care

Are you worried about the cost of assisted living and nursing home care? As the number of aging Minnesotans increases, more people will need long term care due to health issues such as strokes, Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease. It is no secret that long term care is costly.

How is long term care paid for?

Medicare and health insurance. Medicare and your private health insurance pay for a limited amount of nursing home care in certain situations. For example, if you fall and need to be in a care facility while you receive physical therapy for a month before you return home, Medicare will likely pay. But Medicare and your health insurance will not pay for long term placements in nursing homes or assisted living communities.

Long Term Care Insurance. Not many people have long term care insurance but if you do, it will pay for all or part of the cost of your care depending on the terms of your policy.

Your money. Many people use their own funds to pay for long term care costs.

Medicaid or Medical Assistance. The federal Medicaid program is called Medical Assistance in Minnesota. Medical Assistance will pay for long term care costs if you qualify based on your assets and income. You will not qualify for Medical Assistance if you gifted assets in the past sixty months in order to protect those assets. You may have to "spend down" some of your assets before you are eligible for Medical Assistance. For married couples where one spouse needs long term care, there are options and strategies for protecting assets and ensuring the financial well-being of the other spouse.

The rules for Medical Assistance eligibility are complex. Advice from an experienced elder law attorney is essential to properly navigate the Medical Assistance system and can protect a spouse or, possibly, other family members. Every family's situation is different. Your "spend down" strategy will depend on your assets, debts and income, as well as the specific facts of your family situation.

Attorney Jill A. Adkins has helped clients with Medical Assistance eligibility since 1988. Contact her with your questions or to schedule a meeting: (763) 497-3099 or jill.a@glalawfirm.com.

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