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If you have an elderly or disabled relative who needs long-term care, you have good reason to be concerned about the costs. Healthcare costs are constantly on the rise, whether considering assisted living, nursing homes, or home health aide care. Medicare covers some of these expenses, but it has limitations on who can qualify for home health care. Whether or not you or your elderly loved one qualifies for Medicare, Medicaid can be used to supplement the amount and kind of services you can retain. Medicaid services vary by state, but all states have some sort of Medicaid home and community-based service (HCBS) waiver that provides for certain at-home or community-based care. Many states directly provide home health care services for Medicaid recipients who qualify. Read on to learn about Medicaid planning and home health care, and contact an experienced West Palm Beach Medicaid planning and elder law attorney if you have any questions.
Each state has its own rules about what Medicaid covers, particularly in terms of home health care. Florida’s Medicaid program is fairly generous when it comes to home health care. Florida’s Medicaid Long-Term Care plans cover the costs of assisted living facility and nursing facility care, as well as home health aides and home medical equipment for those who qualify. To qualify, an applicant must show that their condition is sufficiently severe to require a nursing home level of care–that is, that they either need to be in a nursing home or receive other long-term care services.
The plan covers medically necessary services. Home health care can include skilled nursing or therapy services, home health aide services such as medication management or assistance with bathing, and personal care services like meal prep or cleaning. Medicaid-paid long-term care plans offer home health services as part of their benefits package, meaning that recipients can receive assistance from skilled nurses, home health aides, or personal care attendants, so long as a medical professional has authorized those services as medically necessary.
In order to qualify for Medicaid-paid long-term care in Florida, an applicant’s income must be below a certain threshold. As of 2020, the individual income limit for an applicant is $2,349 per month. For couples, the joint income limit is $4,698 / month. If only one spouse needs to apply, there are more options: The non-applying spouse can keep an additional portion of the applicant-spouse’s income for their own needs. If you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from Social Security, you should also qualify for Medicaid. There are asset limits for individuals and couples.
There are also avenues for receiving regular income without affecting eligibility for Medicaid, including special needs trusts and ABLE accounts. Consult with a Medicaid estate planning lawyer to discuss your options for seeing that your needs or the needs of a disabled loved one are met while still keeping Medicaid on the table.
A Medicaid planning attorney can help protect your family, creating an estate and special needs plan tailored to your needs and circumstances. We will evaluate your circumstances and those of your family to determine the best type of will, trust, and other legal documents and mechanisms available that will benefit your family the greatest. Contact the skilled and effective West Palm Beach estate planning attorneys at Shalloway & Shalloway at 561-686-6200.