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Three reasons to think about Medicaid before you need it

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2021 | Elder Law

If you have several years to go before retirement, Medicaid might be the furthest thing from your mind. In fact, early Medicaid planning can give you more control over the process if you do eventually need long-term care. 

Review these reasons to think about Medicaid eligibility in your 50s. 

Expensive long-term care costs

Medicaid covers the cost of long-term nursing home care for those who need it, but applicants must prove financial eligibility. Without receiving Medicaid, Pennsylvania residents paid an average of nearly $114,000 per year for skilled nursing facility care in 2015 according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. These costs will continue to increase as you approach retirement age. 

Low eligibility thresholds

Pennsylvania looks at both your income and assets when determining Medicaid eligibility. In 2021, the state’s income limit for a single applicant is $2,382. If you need long-term care and your spouse does not, he or she must earn no more than $3,259.50 per month. 

State residents must also pass an asset test to apply for Medicaid. The total of your exempt assets, which generally does not include your home and furniture, must fall below $2,000 in 2021 to qualify for covered nursing-home care. 

Long look-back period

While you can take steps to reduce your income and assets to qualify for Medicaid, Pennsylvania has a five-year look-back period. During the five years before you apply for Medicaid, you cannot sell or otherwise transfer ownership of assets that would affect your eligibility. 

Even individuals who currently enjoy good health should take these three benefits of early Medicaid planning to heart.