In past articles I’ve dispelled the myth that MassHealth won’t pay for home care. Now I’d like to address another common myth about MassHealth and long-term care, namely, that the well spouse will be kicked out of the family home if the ailing spouse moves to a nursing home and MassHealth pays for the ailing spouse’s care.
Simply put, this myth is not true. The reality is considerably more complicated, but here is a brief synopsis.
Federal and state Medicaid law does indeed require MassHealth to recover assets from the probate estates of certain MassHealth recipients after their death. This is a process known as “estate recovery.” However, recovery is delayed when there is a surviving spouse, a surviving child under the age of 21, or a surviving child of any age who is disabled or blind.
In addition, MassHealth will not pursue recovery if the recipient’s probate estate is valued at less than $25,000 or surviving family members would suffer undue hardship.
The bottom line is this: You do not have to worry about your spouse being evicted from the family home if you move to a nursing home and MassHealth pays for your care.
Finally, it is likely that, by using a variety of estate planning tools and strategies, I can protect your family’s home and other assets for the benefit of – first and foremost, yourself during your lifetime – and also for future generations. As with so many aspects of estate planning, the earlier we talk, the more options we will have.
Until next time, take care….
P.S. I hope to see you on Thursday, April 14th at 10 AM. Patricia Nihill of North River Home Care and I are hosting a free educational workshop at the Duxbury Senior Center to commemorate National Healthcare Decisions Day. I’ll be discussing a crucial legal document called a Health Care Proxy. You can register by calling 781-934-5774.