If your spouse needs nursing home care but you do not, you may have questions about how this will affect your finances. With nursing home care ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 a month, you may have concerns about how you will afford care for your spouse.
In certain situations, your spouse can still qualify for Medicaid, even if you continue to live at home.
Spousal impoverishment protection
According to FindLaw, the federal spousal impoverishment protection law exists so that your spouse may still qualify for Medicaid without leaving you impoverished. Per this law, a certain amount of your joined assets and income must be accessible to you.
Under this protection, Medicaid determines what portion of your joint resources constitute your share. The law entitles you to a minimum maintenance needs allowance, which Medicaid cannot source from.
When you and your spouse apply for Medicaid, there is a five-year “lookback” period. Medicaid will review your financial history for five years, including any transfers of assets. New York allows a spousal exemption, however. Under this exemption, your spouse may transfer assets to you to protect your assets.
While spousal refusal may sound severe, it is a strategic planning move. If you refuse to take responsibility for your spouse’s medical expenditures, Medicare will only consider assets in your spouse’s name during the lookback period.
It is essential to plan properly if you think either you or your spouse will eventually live in a nursing home. Planning ahead and planning effectively will make all the difference when it comes to the quality of life for you both.