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FAQ: Long-Term Care Planning

Q. Does Medicaid cover Assisted Living?
For the most part, Virginia Medicaid only covers long-term nursing home care. There is an Auxiliary Grant Program that pays for assisted living, but there are two barriers to being accepted into the Program. The first is that the applicant must have limited income. The second is that since the program pays facilities at a rate that is lower than the private pay rate, it is difficult to locate an assisted living facility that accepts Auxiliary Grant residents.
Q. To qualify for Medicaid, must I sell my home?
It depends on your marital status. If one spouse requires Medicaid and the other continues to live in the home, then selling the home is not necessary. However, if a Medicaid recipient is unmarried, the home is exempt for a maximum of six months, after which, it must be sold.
Q. What is Medicaid planning?
Medicaid has complicated eligibility requirements. For example, uncompensated transfers of assets are penalized. Medicaid uses different eligibility criteria for married and unmarried Medicaid applicants. For, example the community spouse (the spouse who does not need long-term care coverage and remains in the family home) is allowed to retain a certain resources in order to continue to live in the community.

It is important to consult an attorney who understands Medicaid so that the applicant and his or her family preserves maximum income and resources.
Q. Does Medicare pay for skilled nursing care?
In a limited way. It covers skilled care in a nursing facility for a maximum of 100 days per benefit period. It covers home care when prescribed by a physician. Most people who remain in nursing homes pay either privately, with long-term care insurance or Medicaid.
Q. Should I purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long Term Care Insurance Policies can be expensive, but good ones cover nursing, assisted living and home care.

Policies usually have a daily dollar maximum and an overall maximum on the length of time that the insurance company will pay the designated benefits. So called ‘tax qualified’ long-term care insurance policies are deductible as medical expenses.
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