How Much Money Can You Have and Still Qualify for Medicaid?
Are you or a loved one heading for extensive medical treatments or long-term care?
If so, you’re probably concerned about how this costly care will impact your assets, property, and holdings. After all, you’ve worked hard to build your estate and it would be devastating to see it all get drained to pay for long-term care and medical expenses.
That’s where Medicaid can help offset the cost of your care, but Medicaid income eligibility limits often disqualify people from this crucial benefit.
Let’s talk about how much money you can have while qualifying for Medicaid and how a Minnesota estate planning lawyer can help you get approved for these benefits. Contact Safe Harbor Estate Law in Saint Paul for more help.
What Is Medicaid/Medical Assistance?
Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program that provides health care coverage to individuals who meet certain income and asset requirements.
In Minnesota, Medicaid is known as Medical Assistance. Many people who require long-term care, including nursing home care, may need to rely on Medicaid to cover the costs.
However, to qualify for Medical Assistance, an individual’s income and assets must fall within certain limits.
Eligibility Requirements for Medical Assistance in Minnesota
While it’s true that an individual must meet certain income and asset requirements to be eligible for Medical Assistance, the eligibility requirements vary depending on the specific program within Medical Assistance the individual is applying for.
Income Limits for Medical Assistance in Minnesota
The income limits for Medical Assistance in Minnesota vary depending on the specific program within Medical Assistance.
For example, the income limit for a single person applying for Medical Assistance for the Elderly and Disabled program is $1,149 per month in 2023. For a married couple, the income limit is $1,748 per month.
Asset Limits for Medical Assistance in Minnesota
In addition to income limits, Medical Assistance has asset limits. The asset limits also vary depending on the specific program within Medical Assistance.
For example, for the Medical Assistance for the Elderly and Disabled program, the asset limit is $3,000 for a single person and $6,000 for a married couple.
How to Plan for Medical Assistance Eligibility
Because the asset limits for Medical Assistance are relatively low, it is important to plan to qualify for Medical Assistance if long-term care becomes necessary. Several strategies can be used to help meet the asset limits for Medical Assistance, including the use of trusts, spousal impoverishment rules, and exempt assets.
Trusts and Medical Assistance
A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the trustee) holds property for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary).
Several types of trusts can be used to help meet the asset limits for Medical Assistance. One common type of trust is an irrevocable Medicaid asset protection trust. Assets placed in this type of trust are generally not counted when determining eligibility for Medical Assistance.
Spousal Impoverishment Rules
When one spouse needs long-term care, the other spouse may be concerned about how to continue to protect their assets and income.
In Minnesota, spousal impoverishment rules help protect the assets of the spouse who is not receiving long-term care. These rules allow the spouse to keep some assets and income, even if their partner is receiving Medical Assistance. The current amount that a spouse can have is $137,000, plus a home if they are still living in it.
Gifting and Medical Assistance
Some people attempt to give away their assets to qualify for Medical Assistance. However, there are strict rules regarding gifting and Medical Assistance.
Giving away assets can result in a penalty period during which the individual is not eligible for Medical Assistance. Planning ahead and understanding the rules before making any gifts is important.
Look-back Period for Gifting
When determining eligibility for Medical Assistance, there is a look-back period during which the state will review any gifts made by the applicant.
In Minnesota, the look-back period is five years. Any gifts made during this period will be reviewed and may result in a penalty period. Yes, this includes birthday gifts to children, and donations to your church. We understand that this can be concerning but we are here to help!
Penalty Period for Gifting
If an individual has made gifts within the look-back period, they may be subject to a penalty period during which they are not eligible for Medical Assistance. The length of the penalty period is based on the value of the gifts made. If you are concerned about a possible penalty, it is essential to work with an experienced elder lawyer for help.
Planning for Long-Term Care and Medicaid Eligibility? Enlist the Help of an Experienced Minnesota Estate Planning Lawyer
Navigating the complex rules surrounding Medicaid income eligibility limits in Minnesota can be overwhelming. However, with proper planning and guidance from experienced Medicaid planning lawyers, you can ensure that you are taking the steps to qualify for Medical Assistance if long-term care becomes necessary.
Understanding the income and asset limits and the strategies that can be used to meet those limits is crucial. By working with an attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan, you can protect your assets and ensure that you receive the care you need in the future.
Contact us today at Safe Harbor Estate Law to learn more about your options.