One of the most important aspects of estate planning is to plan for long-term health and nursing care. The cost of nursing homes in Kentucky is at an all-time high. Paying for full-time nursing care in Kentucky is on average, $73,000 per year. Monthly costs range from $4.860 to $8,550 per month. Even if you have saved diligently for your retirement, paying for long-term nursing care can be impossible or heavily burdensome for you and your family.
Most people do not want to spend their life savings paying for nursing home care. Many would like to enjoy their savings and pass them down to loved ones or friends. Qualifying for Medicaid allows senior citizens to receive government insurance that covers long-term nursing care. To qualify for Medicaid, your assets will need to be low, however.
In-Home Nursing Home and Nursing Facility Services
Medicaid is a government program that allows certain qualified individuals who meet the guidelines to receive medical insurance. For eligible applicants, Medicaid will cover the following Nursing Facility services:
- Respiratory therapy and supplies
- Nursing services
- Social services
- Dietary services
- Payment for the room
- The use of equipment and facilities
- Surgical and medical supplies
- Laundry services
- Medication ordered by physicians
- Personal items that the facility routinely provides to residents
The following services are included in Medicaid coverage when a doctor orders them:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Laboratory services
- Oxygen and oxygen-related supplies
- The use of a ventilator
Individuals who are disabled or elderly may benefit from the Medicaid Waiver program. This program allows Medicaid coverage that allows an individual to stay in his or her home and continue to have access to different services, to include homemaker services, respite care, case management, personal care assistance, and program coordination.
Which Individuals are Eligible for Medicaid in Kentucky?
Medicaid will pay for long-term care costs in certain situations. However, qualifying for Medicaid in Kentucky is not easy. Applicants must meet a certain set of requirements to qualify for health care assistance. If applicants do not meet Kentucky Medicaid eligibility requirements, the government will automatically deny their application for Medicaid. The following are basic requirements for Medicaid in Kentucky:
- The applicant must be a Kentucky resident
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or an alien with a legal status
- The applicant must be very low income per his or her gross monthly household income
Senior citizens in Kentucky may qualify for Medicaid insurance if they do not qualify for other assistance made available fo elderly individuals. Medicaid defines a senior citizen as anyone 65 years of age or older. The requirements for Medicaid also cover permanently disabled Kentucky residents whose permanent disability has been confirmed by the Social Security Administration.
Income Requirements for Medicaid Eligibility in Kentucky
Only those considered to be very low-income qualify for Medicaid benefits. A Medicaid applicant’s household income must fall below the federal poverty level (FPL). Typically the household income must be at least 133% below the FPL. Medicaid will adjust the income limit depending on the size of the applicant’s household.
Kentucky’s Medicaid program only provides assistance to those who meet the income eligibility requirements. The income limit is currently $217 and the asset limit is $2,000 for an individual. In other words, if you own more than $2,000 in assets or if your monthly income is over $217 per month, you will not qualify.
The Medicaid Spend Down Process
Applicants who are 65 or older, disabled, or blind are only eligible for Medicaid if their income is below the minimum amount. Those with income over the minimum amount are not eligible for Medicaid. If your assets are over the limit to qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to “spend down” your assets. The medical expenses you currently pay each month can be deducted from your monthly income. Your “spend down” is the amount of your income that is over the limit imposed by Medicaid. When your medical expenses are greater than your spend-down amount, you may be able to receive Medicaid to cover the cost of the rest of your medical bills.
Make sure that you keep track of all of your current and past medical expenses. You will need to show evidence of your medical expenses to your caseworker. Make a filing system to organize all of your medical expenses. If you do not meet the required spend-down each month, you will not qualify for Medicaid that month. If your caseworker mismanages and miscalculates your bills, you have a right to appeal the decision. At CommonWealth Elder Law, our estate planning lawyers know how to advocate fiercely for your rights. We can help appeal an incorrect decision. If you are in the process of applying fo Kentucky Medicaid, we can help you submit an effective and thorough application.
Applying for Medicaid in Kentucky
A Medicaid applicant will need to support documentation such as pay stubs or tax returns. Additionally, applicants need to submit copies of their alien registration papers if they are non-citizens living in the United States legally. You can submit a paper application or an online application. Working with an attorney before submitting your application can be extremely helpful.
Transferring Assets to Qualify for Medicaid in Kentucky
You might think that you can just give away your assets in order to qualify as having $2,000 or less in assets. However, Medicaid does not allow individuals to give gifts in any amount for five years before applying for Medicaid. Homes are not countable assets as long as the equity in the home is $572,000 or less.
Our Medicaid Planning Lawyers can Help
When it comes to planning for long-term care in Kentucky, the earlier the planning, the better. At CommonWealth Elder Law, our lawyers can sit down with you and review your unique situation. Our lawyers can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that addresses preparing for long-term nursing care. Contact our Kentucky Medicaid planning law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.