Skilled nursing care is expensive, but is often a necessity for most people as they get older. The average cost for skilled nursing facilities in North Carolina is roughly $8,000 per month. If you can’t afford to pay this cost out of pocket, you may be wondering whether government benefits might cover some or all of your skilled nursing care costs. Does Medicaid pay for nursing homes in North Carolina? Read on to find out.
Who Qualifies for Medicaid-Funded Nursing Home Care?
So, does Medicaid pay for nursing homes in North Carolina? The answer is a qualified “yes.” If you are over 65 and require long-term care at a skilled nursing facility, Medicaid benefits may pay the difference between the cost of care and your income if you own no more than $2,000 in countable assets.
If you are applying for Medicaid with your spouse, you can collectively own up to $3,000 in countable assets. If only one of you requires nursing care services, the other spouse, called the “community spouse,” may keep between $29,724 and $148,620, depending on your joint assets at the time skilled nursing care is accessed.
Note that the majority of your monthly income will likely go towards the cost of care. You may only keep a small amount ($30) per month as a personal needs allowance.
If you are married, the community spouse may keep a monthly income between $2.289.00 and $3,715.50.
What Are Countable Assets?
Example countable assets include:
- A second home
- A second vehicle
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- Whole life insurance
- Retirement accounts
Can You Become Eligible for Medicaid by Making Gifts to Family Members?
You are free to gift or transfer assets for less than full value as you see fit; however,, if you do so during the five years preceding your Medicaid application, you will incur a penalty. That means you will pay the facility’s private pay rate until the penalty period runs. Note that the penalty period only begins to run after you are in a skilled nursing facility and have met the Medicaid asset limit.
Are There Other Strategies to Improve Your Medicaid Eligibility?
Medicaid allows you to spend down countable assets to qualify. Examples of allowable spend down strategies include: repaying legitimate debts, pre-paying for a funeral, and making improvements to your primary residence.
You may be able to achieve eligibility for Medicaid — even without spending down all your assets — if you start planning early. An experienced Medicaid planning attorney can advise you on appropriate strategies so you prepare for your future care.
Talk to a North Carolina Medicaid Planning Lawyer
Our legal team at Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, can advise you on all aspects of Medicaid planning and answer questions such as, “Does Medicaid pay for nursing homes in North Carolina?” Contact us online or by calling 919-782-3500 to book your consultation. We serve seniors and their families in Raleigh and Wake Forest, North Carolina, and throughout the state.