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Medicaid planning and the possible need for nursing home care

Most Colorado residents work hard to make sure that their family's future is protected. They invest in retirement accounts, purchase life insurance and carefully establish an estate plan. Yet, all of this can be at risk if the individual requires nursing home care and the proper Medicaid planning has not been put into place.

In order to meet Medicare eligibility requirements, the individual can have no more than $2,000 in assets. However, there are provisions in place to protect the spouse who remains in the family home. As long as the spouse remains in the home, the home is exempt. Additionally, the spouse is entitled to keep a car and half of the family assets up to approximately $120,000.

As one ages, illness often becomes a concern. Dementia and Alzheimer's, along with a number of other illnesses, make it difficult for the individual to remain at home. Many times, loved ones will attempt to care for the individual; however, this is not always possible. There are times when nursing home care is necessary. However, without Medicaid benefits, this cost is often prohibitive.

Without the proper Medicaid planning, Colorado families often have to look for creative solutions to the looming financial dilemma. Some consider divorce or transferring assets to another party. While this may appear to be a viable solution, Medicaid has a five-year eligibility rule that makes this difficult. There are things that can be done to protect the family and everything that they have worked for. While each circumstance is different, experienced legal counsel can offer Medicaid planning guidance.

Source:, "Married and protecting assets from Medicaid", Karin Price Mueller, Dec. 13, 2017

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