Many Marylanders who are starting to think retirement may realize that they simply have not saved up enough money to afford a nursing home should they need one.
Even if they have put together some savings and have some plan for long term care, with nursing homes costing between $17,000 and about $80,000 a year, a Marylander can be faced with a difficult decision between leaving something to their loved ones and paying for their medical care.
One option is for a person to apply for and receive Medicaid benefits.
However, the government-run Medicaid program is for people who have limited income and no other means to pay for care. In other words, a person is only going to get Medicaid after they have spent their resources which they have intended to leave to to their loved ones.
A person cannot avoid Medicaid’s eligibility rules by giving away a fortune
There are fortunately a number of legal options available to those in this dilemma. An experienced elder law attorney can help Marylanders explore these options.
However, as a word of warning, a person should not take the easy route of just giving away their savings so they can be on Medicaid.
Some gifts, carefully planned for, are fine, but for the most part, gifts to children or other loved ones are subject to a penalty.
Specifically, the government will examine gifts made in the 60 months, or 5 years, prior to applying for Medicaid.
The value of the gifts will be divided by the average cost of a nursing home in Maryland, with the result being the number of months a person will have to wait for benefits even though he or she is otherwise eligible to have Medicaid cover the cost of payment.
During that time, the family will have to figure out a way to pay for nursing home care.