Common Misconceptions About Medicaid

By Daniel Bonilla, MedData Community Medicaid Long-Term Care Coordinator

The decision to move into a long-term care facility can be a difficult one, especially when it comes to finances. In Hawai‘i, a long-term care facility can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 a month, which is unaffordable for many families.

Medicaid’s long-term care coverage — an option that can help — is often overlooked because of common misconceptions about who qualifies and what is covered.

Here are five misconceptions:

“I will not be approved because I am not a citizen of the U.S.”

Generally, people who have been permanent residents of the United States for more than five years or those who are from a nation under the Compacts of Free Association who are 65 or older ARE eligible for Medicaid as long as they are Hawai‘i residents.

“I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid long-term care.”

Traditional Medicaid coverage does have an in-come eligibility limit, but there is generally no income limit to qualify for Medicaid long-term care. In fact, the more money you make, the less the state incurs in expenses to pay for your coverage.

“I can’t have any money in the bank to qualify for Medicaid long-term care.”

You may have checking, savings and other assets. If you are single, you can qualify with up to $2,000 in assets. If you are married, that amount increases significantly to $119,220 in joint assets.

“I’m over the asset limit; I own my home.”

Owning a home does not disqualify you from receiving Medicaid long-term care. There are many factors that contribute to whether or not the value of your property will be included in your eligible asset limit, such as its total value or if you still have an outstanding mortgage on your home.

“I will lose my home if I obtain Medicaid long-term care.”

If you are approved for Medicaid long-term care, the state may put a lien on your home but this does not mean that you will lose it. The circumstances that determine whether the state can or cannot place a lien on your property will vary. For example, if your spouse is currently living in the home, a lien cannot be placed on your property.

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