Many people do not want to think of the possibility of requiring long-term care at some point in the future. They do not want to think about not being able to take care of themselves or can be concerned about becoming a burden on family members. While it is natural to want to avoid uncomfortable conversations, doing so can only make a difficult situation even more difficult.

Families are regularly stunned by the cost of long-term care in this area. Prices between $4,000 – $7,000 per month are not uncommon. Even with money set aside in savings, it is easy to see how that money could disappear in short order.

What should families do? In many instances, it is worthwhile to consider Medicaid coverage for long-term care needs. This strategy is not without its challenges though. In order to qualify, an individual must have less than $2,313/month in income and less than $2,000 in assets. Qualification is not impossible for individuals with income and assets over those limits, but it does require careful planning.

And there is some good news. Homes and retirement account(s) typically represent the largest assets that many people own. In Texas, a primary residence is not considered a “countable” asset (meaning that it is not counted toward the $2,000 limit) as long as it is fits under the $572,000 equity limit. Likewise, if an individual is over 70½ and in required minimum distribution stages with his or her retirement account, that money is also not countable. Of course, the distribution counts as income, which could place an individual over the monthly cap.

As of February 2019, HHSC advised that the treatment of income from the required minimum distributions would be clarified soon. That guidance has not been issued yet.

As with almost anything, developing a plan in advance is the best choice. Contact Balmos Law with questions about Medicaid eligibility and planning for long-term care.