Older adults can automatically qualify for Medicare benefits when they reach retirement age. Most people expect that Medicare will provide them with adequate resources throughout their golden years. However, those who have debilitating medical issues that develop during their golden years may find that Medicare coverage isn’t sufficient for their needs.
The Florida Medicaid Program provides very important long-term care coverage for those who need to move into a nursing home or require the support of a nursing professional in their residence. Those preparing for retirement or reviewing their estate plans can potentially improve their chances of qualifying for benefits and reduce the likelihood that Medicaid will leave their loved ones without any inheritance.
There are strict income limits
As of January 2023, the income cap for a single person is $2,742 per month, up from $2,523 in 2022. For couples, it is possible to qualify with twice the limit for an individual, which is $5,484. People have to very carefully structure their retirement income if they hope to qualify for Medicaid to cover their long-term care costs.
There are limits on countable assets
Countable assets include the balance in someone’s bank account and any other significant financial resources. Thankfully, the most valuable asset in someone’s name, their primary residence, will typically not contribute to the value of their countable assets. Someone can own a home without any mortgage payments due and not have to worry about their home equity preventing them from securing Medicaid benefits. However, their home and other personal property could be at risk of estate recovery attempts after their death.
The state often wants repayment
Federal rules for state Medicaid programs include a requirement to establish an estate recovery system. After someone dies, any assets they have will become part of their estate, and the Florida Medicaid estate recovery program can make claims and probate court against those assets. It might be necessary for the personal representative of someone’s estate to sell all of their property to cover their Medicaid debts, which might effectively leave their loved ones without any significant inheritance. Proper planning might include creating a trust or otherwise changing the ownership of assets so that someone can easily meet the limits on income and countable assets when they apply and protect their resources from liquidation after their death.
Understanding the rules for Florida Medicaid is an important first step for those thinking about their medical needs and their ultimate legacy alike.