What is Medicaid and can it pay for nursing home care?

Medicaid is a program designed to help people of limited assets and income receive essential health care services. The program uses a combination of Federal and State and state laws to determine who is eligible for Medicaid coverage.

A common question clients have for us is whether or not Medicaid can be used to pay for nursing home care. The short answer to this question is “yes.” However, the process of becoming eligible for Medicaid is much more complicated than a simple “yes or no” answer. Those who apply for Medicaid are subject to strict asset and income limitations. For example, in South Carolina the monthly income limit for 2014 is $2,163 per month and an applicant’s assets cannot exceed $2000 in value. However, Medicaid allows for applicants who exceed the asset limitations to spend money on qualified expenses, exempt certain assets, and set up qualifying income trusts in order to meet the monthly income limits. All of this can be a confusing process, which is why many people end up hiring an attorney to help them navigate this process.

Another question clients often ask is whether the cost of a nursing home is covered by Medicare. Medicare is a Federal health insurance plan that covers citizens 65 and older, but only up to a certain amount for nursing homes. For example, Medicare may pay for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility in some situations. But what happens when that coverage has ended and your loved one still needs care? That is when Medicaid often takes over for people who qualify.

If you or a loved one are considering applying for Medicaid to help pay for nursing home coverage and have additional questions about the process or want to try to preserve some of your assets while qualifying, either fill out the form on the right or give us a call at (803) 358-7214.