Medicaid Myths Part Two

Myth #1: Our pre-nuptial agreement shows that everything belongs to my spouse.

With regard to Medicaid eligibility guidelines, the state does not take pre-nuptial agreements into consideration. In fact, even assets titled in the name of only one spouse are considered available for the care of the other spouse, if they apply for Medicaid. However, a qualified Elder Law Attorney may be able to help a married applicant preserve nearly all of their assets for their spouse and heirs.

Myth #2: If I or my loved one requires nursing home care, Medicare will pay for it.

Medicare only covers a small amount of the nursing home care provided in this country. Many people are surprised to learn this. Medicare provides 20 days of full coverage if you spent at least three days in the hospital prior to being admitted to a nursing home, and need skilled care. Then, if you still need skilled care, you can get up to 80 days of partial coverage from Medicare, subject to a co-pay.

Myth #3: I or my loved one can “hide” the assets and be eligible for Medicaid.

Intentional misrepresentation in a Medicaid application is a crime and can be costly. The IRS shares any information concerning income or assets you have with the Medicaid agency. These reports include interest income and the sale of stocks or bonds. You or whoever applied may have to pay Medicaid back to avoid prosecution.

Myth #4: I or my loved one will receive “better” care if their care is not paid for by Medicaid.

It is a crime to treat Medicaid patients differently than private pay patients and it is illegal to discriminate against Medicaid patients. There may be no “Medicaid wing” and no public identification of a “Medicaid bed.” Usually, most of the staff does not know which patient is a Medicaid recipient and which is a private pay patient. It is important to contact a qualified Elder Law attorney as soon as possible, as they can often be very helpful in sharing with you information about local nursing homes.

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