“What are the requirements to qualify for Alabama Medicaid to pay for nursing home care?”

“What are the requirements to qualify for Alabama Medicaid to pay for nursing home care?”

"What are the requirements to qualify for Alabama Medicaid to pay for nursing home care?"Requirements to qualify for Alabama Medicaid

There are three requirements:

  • Health
  • Income
  • Assets

First Alabama Medicaid requirement: Health

The health requirement is very easy.

The basic concept is you need a nursing home.

I have not yet met anybody who has said, “I’m pretty healthy and I just want to pay $6,000 to live in a one-room place on a long hallway and eat the food there.”

There’s never been an issue where we had to wonder if somebody qualified from a health standpoint.

Second Alabama Medicaid requirement: Income

The second requirement is income.

We could take a ton of paper and ink on this, but I’m going to boil it down to very practical terms.

All of your money will go towards the nursing home.

The spouse that’s in the nursing home, all of his/her income is going to go to the nursing home – unless they’re married.

If they’re married, it could be that the spouse that’s at home (or what we sometimes call the “community spouse” or the “healthy spouse”) may not be making enough money to live on.

The spouse who is sick (the “institutional spouse”) may be able to divert some of his income to his spouse who is still at home.

I think this will make more sense to understand the concept behind it.

If we think back traditionally the husband worked, the wife did not work or did not work much.

The husband is going to get sick first, the husband goes in the nursing home and all of his income goes to the nursing home.

The spouse at home who maybe now is 70 who did not work very much doesn’t really have much paid into Social Security and just simply doesn’t have enough money to live on.

Congress a number of years ago said, “We’re not going to do that where the spouse that’s left in the community is going to be impoverished.

So we’re going to make sure that spouse is getting somewhere in the neighborhood of around $1,900 a month.

If they make that much, that’s great.

They’re fine.

But if not, then we can divert some of the income of the person in the nursing home.”

Third Alabama Medicaid requirement: Assets

This is really where most of the discussion about Medicaid focuses on.

The one that’s going into the nursing home can keep $2,000.

By the way, Medicaid could care less about pre-nuptials or that you just get married 45 days before somebody has a stroke and has to go onto a nursing home.

It doesn’t matter.

Let’s look a little deeper into this issue of assets.

When we’re talking about assets, this typically does not include the house.

There are a lot of exceptions to this.

There’s even a sense in which Medicaid sometimes can put a lien on the house.

But just in terms of looking at if you qualify, we do not count the house – unless it’s a particularly valuable house and it may go beyond the rules.

A modest car is also not counted.

Keeping that in mind, let’s think about what is included.

We do include any property.

A condo at the beach, you’ve got a rental property, you’ve got land, farm land is going to be included.

Money in checking accounts, savings, CD, investments, stocks, mutual funds, and investments of any type.

Here’s the quick and dirty way.

Anything other than your house and the car is going to be included in assets – husband and wife.

It doesn’t matter whose name it’s in.

We look at them together.

There are certainly exceptions to this, but for our purposes, include everything but the house and car.

Do keep in mind there are differing opinions and options  on retirement accounts of the community (healthy) spouse.

So what do we do after that?

We look at that total number and basically divide that total into two and the community spouse (the spouse that’s well, the spouse that’s still living at home) can keep a little bit over $110,000.

The spouse that is sick that’s in the nursing home can keep $2,000.

What do we do with the rest? We’ve got to use that in a proper way.

I mentioned several times about “rules” and the “proper way.”

Medicaid lays out very detailed rules, very detailed regulations, and we expect Medicaid to follow those rules and they expect for consumers to follow those rules.

There’s nothing wrong with Medicaid following the rules and there’s nothing wrong with us following the rules.

I’m going to talk about ways in which those rules can be used in the best possible manner.

Contact Us.

If you have any questions about Alabama Medicaid, feel free to get in touch with us.

You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.

Or, if you prefer, you can fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you.

We look forward to chatting with you.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

-John G. Watts

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