Long-Term Care / Medicaid
If you or someone you love is at risk of spending down their life savings to pay for the ever-growing costs of long-term care, then we invite you to call today for your free initial telephone consultation to explore the opportunities our long-term care and asset protection planning can provide. We have helped many families preserve their life savings without sacrificing quality of care.
Mobile Legal Services works with individuals and families throughout Southeast Michigan. Our elder law attorneys meet clients in their homes, nursing homes, or other convenient locations — for no additional cost — in the Downriver Detroit area and all of Livingston County, Washtenaw County, Southern Macomb County, Oakland County, and Wayne County.
What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care is a variety of services and supports to meet health or personal care needs over an extended period of time. Most long-term care is non-skilled personal care assistance, such as help performing everyday Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), which are:
- Using the toilet
- Transferring (to or from a bed or chair)
- Caring for incontinence
The goal of long-term care services is to help maximize the individual's independence and functioning at a time when they are unable to be fully independent.
Many of these services can be performed in the home, and there are programs available for people with minimal resources to obtain in-home care.
What Are My Risks of Needing Long-Term Care?
According to government statistics, about 70 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetime. Over 40 percent will need care in a nursing home for some period of time.
Long-term care is needed when a chronic illness or disability requires assistance with Activities of Daily Living. Your illness or disability could include a problem with memory loss, confusion, or disorientation. This is called cognitive impairment and can result from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia.
Physical disabilities or debilitating diseases can also result in a need for long-term care. Often an elderly person will find themselves needing assistance following a stroke or heart attack. Other times people can no longer live on their own due to risk of falling.
If you, or someone you love, needs long-term care, you may need one or more of the following:
- Care or assistance with activities of daily living in your home from an unpaid caregiver who can be a family member or friend. It is very important to note that, if you have a friend or family member providing services, you should never pay them without a legally binding care contract in place
- Services at your home from a nurse, home health provider, therapist, or homemaker
- Care in any of a variety of long-term facilities, including assisted living or nursing home
How Do I Pay for Long-Term Care?
The risk of needing long-term care and its related expenses is too great to ignore. With limited exceptions, Medicare and private health insurance will not pay for long-term care, and Social Security Benefits are almost certainly too low to cover the cost of care.
The elder law attorneys at Mobile Legal Services can assist you in identifying and obtaining potential long-term care benefits, including long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and VA Aid and Attendance for veterans and their spouses. We encourage you to call us today for your free initial telephone consultation.
Who Qualifies for Long-Term Medicaid?
Below are the eligibility guidelines for qualifying for benefits through the Michigan Medicaid Program in the year 2021. These amounts are adjusted annually and coincide with federal law. The numbers below are used for assessment of an individual residing in a nursing home and their spouse, living in the community, known as the "Community Spouse." Other programs may have different requirements.
Medicaid Eligibility Guidelines: Resources
(Only countable assets are reflected in these numbers.)
Maximum Amount of Countable Assets
This is for the Medicaid applicant.
Minimum Community Spouse Resource Deduction
This is the minimum amount of countable assets that the Community Spouse is allowed to retain.
Maximum Community Spouse Resource Deduction
This is the maximum amount of community resources that the Community Spouse is allowed to retain.
Monthly Individual Personal Needs Allowance
This is the amount from the Medicaid applicant’s income that the applicant is allowed to retain for personal needs each month.
Medicaid Eligibility Guidelines: Income
Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance for Spouse
This is the minimum amount that the Community Spouse is assumed to need on a monthly basis to pay for his or her own living expenses. If the Community Spouse’s income is not enough to reach this minimum, funds will be diverted from the applicant spouse’s income.
Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance for Spouse
This is the maximum amount that the Community Spouse is assumed to need on a monthly basis to pay for his or her own living expenses.
Below is a list of assets that are not counted for Medicaid approval purposes. The below list is not exhaustive but contains many of the most common assets.
Homestead. Any shelter that a person owns, is buying, holds through life estate or life lease in which the person lives or formerly lived is excluded.
Vehicles. One vehicle owned by the applicant is excluded. Vehicles include passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles, motorbikes, trailers, campers, motor homes, boats and all-terrain vehicles.
Household and Personal Goods. All household goods and personal goods, regardless of value, are excluded. Household goods are items customarily found in the home and used in conjunction with its maintenance, use or occupancy.
Irrevocable Funeral Contract. A prepaid, irrevocable funeral agreement or contract for the Medicaid applicant (not her or his spouse), including interest and dividend income on the contract, is excluded.
Burial Spaces. Burial spaces for (1) an applicant and his or her spouse, (2) their parents, minor and adult children, and siblings, and (3) the spouses of the persons named in (2), may be excluded.
Life Insurance Funded Funerals. If a person has assigned the face value of a life insurance policy for funeral expenses and irrevocably transferred his or her ownership of the life insurance policy to a trust or to a funeral director, the entire value of that asset is excluded.
Cash Value of Life Insurance. The cash surrender value of life insurance policies is excluded when the combined face values of all policies a person owns on the same insured totals $1,500 or less. If the combined face values exceed $1,500, the cash surrender value is a countable asset.
Annuities. Certain irrevocable annuities.
Retroactive Social Security and SSI Payments. If a person receives a retroactive Social Security or SSI payment, it is excluded for a period of nine consecutive calendar months beginning with the month following the one in which it is received.
What Is Estate Recovery?
Estate Recovery was established by the federal Medicaid laws and has since been adopted in Michigan. It is a process by which the state is paid back for some or all of the Medicaid benefits received by the individual during their lifetime. These funds and/or assets come from the individual’s probated estate.
There are options and planning tools available to avoid Estate Recovery. Please call today to set up an appointment.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance helps provide for the cost of long-term care including nursing home care. Long-term care insurance can pay for care generally not covered by health insurance or Medicare, and recent changes in Michigan law allow for certain long-term care insurance plans to work with Medicaid to increase the amount of assets an individual can own while receiving Medicaid, creating interesting planning options for those who plan ahead.