Concerns over misconceptions arising among her clients over Medicaid, Sioux Falls attorney Bobbi L. Thury has moved quickly to set the facts straight in an interview this week. —
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The co-founder of Legacy Law Firm, P.C., said one misconception is that people cannot keep their income if their spouse is receiving Medicaid benefits for nursing home expenses.
She commented: "Your income will be handled separately in Medicaid matters. The money and property owned by both spouses will indeed be taken into consideration when it comes to qualifying for Medicaid."
Another myth surrounding Medicaid is that everyone's Medicaid experience is the same. She elaborated: "A lot of what people hear about Medicaid comes from their friends. However, this isn't the best way to obtain accurate information. Everyone's situation varies, particularly from state to state."
Thury explained that many people are afraid they won't qualify for Medicaid, but several factors are taken into consideration, such as age, income bracket, assets, and level of care needed.
Another Medicaid misconception is that individuals don't have to be concerned with Medicaid planning. She explained: "Many of my clients don't realize just how costly long-term nursing care can be, so it's important to begin the process of preparing for the possibility of Medicaid assistance early. The earlier they begin, the more money they’ll be able to protect."
At the other extreme, many who have moved to a nursing residence assume it's too late to begin planning for Medicaid. "Even if you or your loved one has already used funds to pay for care at a nursing facility, there could still be time for Medicaid planning. This is particularly the case for anyone married," she added.
As people get older and their health declines, they might need long-term care, which can become costly without the help of Medicaid.
"Unfortunately, not everyone is up to speed on the facts about applying and qualifying for Medicaid. The best advice is to consult an experienced Elder Law attorney to get an accurate financial picture and understand the best way to move forward," Thury concluded.
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