As we have discussed in other posts, planning for the eventual need for long-term care is a crucial element of any Houston estate plan. With the costs of nursing home care rapidly increasing across the country, more families are taking a proactive approach when it comes to deciding how to pay for these future costs.
For families with significant assets, the concern is not necessarily whether they can pay for the necessary care, but how they can limit the amount their own assets will go towards paying for the care. Thus, Medicaid planning is focused on how to strategically structure familial assets in a way that will enable the family member in need of long-term care to quickly and easily qualify for Medicaid while preserving their assets.
Medicaid is a needs-based program, and applicants must meet strict asset and income limits to qualify for benefits. One of the most important elements of Houston Medicaid planning is understanding these asset and income limitations. Applicants with excess assets or income will be required to “spend down” the excess before they can qualify for benefits. Of course, this can leave a spouse who is not in need of care in a challenging spot, because the money they need to continue to live independently may be diverted to pay for long-term care.
Below is a list of a few of the Medicaid asset and income limits, as well as some important terms and their descriptions:
- Individual Resource Allowance: The individual resource allowance is $2,000. This figure represents the amount of resources that a single person can own and still qualify for Medicaid.
- Gross Income Limit: The gross income limit to qualify for Medicaid is $2,349 a month, or $28,188 annually. Applicants with income in excess of this amount will not qualify or Medicaid benefits and should consider a Qualified Income Trust.
- Medicaid Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance (MMMNA): The MMMNA refers to the minimum monthly income that the spouse staying at home will be able to retain. If the couple’s income is less than $3,216, then the spouse staying at home will be able to keep the entire amount. Otherwise, they will be able to keep up to that amount.
- Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA): Similar to the MMMNA, the CSRA refers to the amount of resources that the spouse staying at home can keep. This figure ranges between $25,728 and $128,640, depending on the amount of assets and the couple’s income conditions.
Planning for the eventual need for long-term care can be challenging. Every family’s situation is unique, making the planning process highly individualized. Those interested in learning more about how they can start to plan for the future should reach out to a dedicated Houston estate planning attorney.
Contact a Houston Medicaid Planning Attorney Today
If you or a family member foresees the potential need for long-term care in the future, it is best to take proactive action to plan for the expense. At McCulloch & Miller, we have extensive experience helping individuals and families create comprehensive Houston estate plans. To learn more, and to schedule a consultation, call 713-333-8900 today.