If you are a senior yourself or are the adult child of parents who are enjoying their retirement years, you should be acutely aware of the likely need for long-term care along with the high cost of that care. As a New York resident, you can expect to pay significantly more than the national average when it comes to long-term care costs. Knowing this, incorporating a Medicaid planning component into your comprehensive estate plan should be considered. To help you better understand how Medicaid can help and why Medicaid planning is important, the attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm discuss the 2024 Medicaid guidelines for New York seniors.
Why Do I Need to Worry about Medicaid Eligibility When I Am a Senior?
Medicare will likely cover most of your healthcare expenses during your “Golden Years.” Unfortunately, however, Medicare does not pay for long-term care services nor will most private health insurance policies. Given that you already stand about a 70 percent chance of needing some type of LTC services before you reach the end of your life at the time you enter your retirement years, planning for how you will pay for that care is crucial because it will not be cheap. The national average for 2023 was just over $100,000; however, New York residents paid over $150,000, on average, for a year of long-term care (LTC) and almost $55,000, on average, for assisted living care that same year. Not surprisingly, more than half of all seniors turn to Medicaid for help covering long-term care expenses.
Senior Medicaid Eligibility in New York
Although it is administered at the state level, Medicaid is a healthcare program that is primarily funded by the federal government. Medicaid is a “needs-based” program, meaning that income and asset limits apply when determining eligibility. In New York, an individual senior applicant cannot have income that exceeds $1,732 per month while a married couple both applying cannot have combined income that exceeds $2,351 per month for 2024. Often more important are the applicable asset limits. An individual applicant cannot own countable resources that exceed $30,182 in value as of 2024. If your assets exceed the limit, you may need to enter Medicaid “spend-down” to reduce the value of your assets so that you qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid also uses a five-year “look-back” rule that allows Medicaid to review your finances for the five-year period prior to your application and if any transfers below market value are uncovered Medicaid may impose a waiting period.
New York Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Rules
The New York Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Rules protect your spouse’s income and assets if you need to qualify for Medicaid. Under those rules, your spouse is entitled to a Community Spouse Monthly Income Allowance (CSMIA) to make sure that your spouse does not go without sufficient income from you after you enter a nursing home. The standard CSMIA in New York is $3,853.50 for 2024. If your spouse’s monthly income is less than that amount, he/she is entitled to as much of your income as is needed to reach the CSMIA.
Another important aspect of the Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Rules is the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA). This CSRA is intended to prevent the non-applicant spouse from becoming impoverished, and in 2024, allows that spouse to keep 50 percent of the couple’s assets, up to a maximum of $154,140. If 50 percent of the couple’s assets is under $74,820, the non-applicant spouse can keep 100 percent of their assets, up to $74,820.
How Can Medicaid Planning Help?
You must pass the income and asset tests to qualify for Medicaid. Although some assets are exempt, including your home up to a $1,071,000 equity limit (as of 2024), assets valued above the asset limit may be at risk. Medicaid planning uses legal tools and strategies to help protect those assets while ensuring your eligibility for benefits in the future.
Do You Have Additional Questions about the 2024 Medicaid Guidelines for New York Seniors?
For more information, please join us for a FREE estate planning seminar. If you need help incorporating Medicaid planning into your estate plan, contact the Long Island Medicaid planning attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm by calling us at 631-265-0599 to schedule your appointment.
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