Panic, my spouse needs to go into a nursing home!

Nursing Home, Senior Adult, Old.PANIC!  Your spouse unexpectedly needs to go into a nursing home.  You learn that the cost of the nursing home will be $10,000 or more a month!  You own a home and have only about $250,000 in life savings.   You realize that you will go through all your life savings if your spouse is in the nursing home for two years.  You worry that you may then have to sell your home to continue paying the nursing home after two years.   What then? Should you panic?

The answer is NO.   But you should not wait until you go through your life savings.  Medicaid (known as MassHealth in Massachusetts) will immediately start paying for your spouse’s nursing home, provided you file immediately for long-term care benefits when your spouse enters the nursing home.

Spousal Allowance

Although MassHealth requires an individual to spend all but $2,000 of their assets before they can get long-term care benefits, the eligibility rules for married couples are very different.   The spouse who remains at home is entitled to set aside roughly $120,000 in assets for their own use, which means those monies won’t need to be paid to the nursing home.  If the couple’s assets exceed the $120,000, careful planning can protect even these excess assets as well for the spouse remaining at home.

Don’t private-pay the nursing home!

Unfortunately, no one is likely to tell you this.  Nursing homes get $10K- $12k if you private-pay them, only $8K if you get on MassHealth.   For obvious reasons, MassHealth does not advertise the “married couple” rules.

So my goal as an estate planning attorney is to get the word out.  I have had clients who came to me after they spent their life savings.  Sadly, I could do nothing for them at that point.   So if your spouse goes into a nursing home, please consult an experienced elder law attorney immediately to get your spouse on MassHealth immediately, so you protect your financial future and security.

Conveniently located in North Attleborough, we serve clients from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, especially the communities of North Attleborough, Taunton, Attleboro, Norton, Norton, Foxboro,  Wrentham, Rehoboth, Plainville, Franklin, Mansfield, Seekonk, Providence, Woonsocket, Cumberland, Pawtucket, and Lincoln.

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