When a parent or spouse goes into a nursing home the first priority should be getting them the best care there. Once their medical care is stabilized, priority number two should be figuring out how to pay for that care. This usually begins with assembling all of the information on assets, income, debts, and expenses for the nursing home resident and his or her spouse. I call this the Inventory stage and it is worth doing whether you intend to pursue nursing home Medicaid or not because you should know what you have to work with when confronted with a huge new monthly bill.
There are some important things to remember when you are assembling the Inventory information.
- you should inventory all property owned in either spouse’s name. If you are planning on Medicaid eligibility then the assets of both spouses are part of the equation so assets in just the healthy spouse’s name alone are not protected – at all;
- you should inventory separate property and community property. Just as above, Medicaid eligibility rules do not treat separate property and community property differently;
- you should inventory jointly owned property. Do you see a trend yet? If the nursing home resident or his or her spouse has their money in a joint account the money is still treated as theirs and is part of the Medicaid eligibility equation.
Once you have this inventory you need to take a look at what the nursing home and other medical costs are going to be every month. The Texas average is $156 per day, but some nursing homes are a little less and some are a lot more so you should check this number with the nursing home. So now you have two critical pieces of information: 1- how much the monthly medicals bills will cost and 2 – how many resources are available to pay those costs.
With those two pieces of information you then need to decide the answer to these questions: how much of the inventory are you willing to lose to nursing home bills? Do you have a plan to stop paying the nursing home bills after you have spent what you are willing to spend that will not result in an eviction or lawsuit? How confident are you that your plan will work?
If you aren’t satisfied with your current plan, or if you don’t have a plan at all, I can help you. Contact me today to start getting answers and stop worrying about next month’s bills.