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Thread: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

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    Senior Member Roy Richardson's Avatar

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    medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    Does anyone know what the rules are for Medicare taking your home if you go into a nursing home permanently? I have a parishioner who may be facing that and they are terrified they will lose their home while the spouse is still alive. Does anyone have experience with this?

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    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Richardson View Post
    Does anyone know what the rules are for Medicare taking your home if you go into a nursing home permanently? I have a parishioner who may be facing that and they are terrified they will lose their home while the spouse is still alive. Does anyone have experience with this?
    Roy, There is a difference between "Medicare" and "Medicade." Medicare is a federal program. Medicade is a state program and has different rules from one state to another. It is Medicade that will supplement a person's nursing home expense. Ordinarily, it has a "means test." The test may vary from one state to another, so it is important to check the rules for the state where the person lives. I have limited experience, but in the case of my mother-in-law, the financial person at the nursing home was the person most willing to advise. That would be a good place to start.
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    Roy; Dave is correct the laws are different in each State. My dad is in a nursing home in Florida, my mom and I hired an attorney who specializes in this field to manage my parents assets. His fee was money well spent, as he walked us through the application process and explained how things worked in Florida.

    While we must contribute a good amount to the nursing home, my dad is receiving excellent care and my mom has enough for her needs.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Senior Member Wilson Deaton's Avatar

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Richardson View Post
    Does anyone know what the rules are for Medicade taking your home if you go into a nursing home permanently? I have a parishioner who may be facing that and they are terrified they will lose their home while the spouse is still alive. Does anyone have experience with this?
    My mother just went through this (and is still going through this). The house was in her husband's name (a second marriage) and he entered a nursing home. All his assets (CDs, savings, bonds, etc.) were drained EXCEPT the house my mom lived in, one vehicle, and some personal property (furniture, clothes, etc.). Then he passed away. My mom has been notified by Medicade that they are now filing against the estate to recoup the money they spent on his nursing home while he was still alive (after his other assets were used up)... In short, they want the house. Mom's lawyer doesn't think Medicare will win this one but he admits he isn't certain. The outcome remains to be seen (and should be settled in the next few months).

    So everything we've HEARD, and JUST EXPERIENCED, suggests that as long as the spouse is still alive, one house is protected while other assets are up for grabs.

    (This example is from Michigan.)

    Wilson
    "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (1 Cor. 15:10)

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    I don't know for your situation - some alert advocate should identify the relevant agency and visit face-to-face with proper staff.
    I'm certain that the regulations, when properly applied by a sympathetic staff person, will protect the couple.

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    In the meantime...

    I am by no means an expert, nor am I an attorney. However I have had family that had with how death affects finances and estates over the past 11 years in the stated of (alphabetically) Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

    As has been said, all Medicaid laws are different state to state. The idea of seeing an attorney is almost certainly a good idea.

    Now, please understand that I am NT advocating cheating, or gaming of the system. At the same time, the question comes down to who we want to be in control of the money/assets--ourselves and or family, or the government. Most people would probably say they want themselves and the family to call as many shots as possible.

    In that light, I have found that the biggest nightmares occur when property is jointly owned, especially when the joint owners are not each others' spouses. I knew one mother here in Ohio who co-owned a house with her daughter, and when the mother had to stay in a nursing home more than 13 months, the state was about to stop paying for the nursing home, meaning that the daughter would then have to start footing the bill for the nursing home, and the only way she could have done that was to sell the house. The daughter therefore was making arrangements to let the mother come home, and somehow try to provide 24-hour-a-day care at home (on a side note, the mother's health started a rapid decline several days prior to the day she would have to leave the nursing home, she was taken to the hospital, and died there very early on the morning when she would have had to leave the nursing home for her own house; she was a Christian, so she did indeed go home that day!).

    Another factor that may come into play depending on the state is for the person to try to divest him/herself of money and/or get a long-term health care facility insurance policy well in advance of when it might be needed. For instance, while there is a federal law that allows a person to give tax-free gifts to another person (I think it is anything up to $11,000 annually), some states look at anything that has been given in such a way over the past number of years (I think in Ohio it is 3 or 5 years, I don't remember) and count any of those gifts as assets when seeing if the person qualifies for Medicaid. However, any gift made prior to that window of time is not counted as an asset, and has gone tax-free to the recipient of the gift. While people may not have the financial resources to give multiple $11,000 gifts (I know I certainly don't) annually, perhaps a person who has 5 grandchildren can start giving each grandchild an annual $1,000, or $500 gift (or $10,000 or $11,000, if the financial circumstances allow). Maybe it could go into a "saving for college" fund or something.

    The point is that most Medicaid rules from the various states that I've known about will not kick a spouse out of the house that is jointly owned by the nursing home resident and the spouse. I believe that there can (at least in the states I've heard about the rules) be one vehicle, plus a certain amount of money in the bank (I think it's $1,500 here in Ohio). But Medicaid rules would require that basically all other assets be exhausted before a person would qualify for Medicaid coverage.

    I know this may not apply in the situation for which this thread was specifically started, but perhaps someone else who reads this thread and who isn't facing such an immediate decision might be influenced to start looking at the issue now, before it is too late to make the best decisions for the family.

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    Full Member Kevin Jackson's Avatar

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    Here's a site that lists a lot of the rules: LINK
    Thanks Roy Richardson - "thanks" for this post

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    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    Pete, that $1500 is a bit low, isn't it? Sounds like they don't leave them enough to keep up taxes, high winter utilities, etc. Is the limit that low so that they will sort of be coerced to give up the house to the nursing home rather than lose it for taxes?
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    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

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    Re: medicare, nursing homes, and losing your house

    Out here it can cost around $A300,000 to move into a Nursing home. Hence those who have their own homes often sell them in order to move in. However, most of this money is kept in trust and the interest on the money is used to fund the services which the client receives. When the person dies, what is left of that fund is regarded as part of the deceased persons estate and is paid out according to the provisions of a person's will.

    The whole process is also funded by the Federal Government and those who have no assets, pay a substantial portion of their pension for their accomodation and services.

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