You May Qualify For Long-term Care Even If Your Income Exceeds Medicaid Requirements
For a great many people, long-term care is too costly to pay for out-of-pocket. Likewise, long-term care insurance is beyond the reach of many. While long term care is covered by Medicaid, it is not covered by Medicare. What many people are not aware of though, is that there are ways to qualify for long-term care through Medicaid even if your income is higher than the allowable threshold amount. Depending on the state where you live, the method for qualifying for Medicaid while addressing being over the income threshold varies in name. In Georgia it is commonly called a Miller Trust or a Qualified Income Trust (QIT). Other terms include Income Diversion Trust, Income Cap Trust, and Irrevocable Income Trust.
With a Miller Trust, any income you earn over, and above Medicaid’s strict income requirements is put into an irrevocable trust and is no longer considered income. This provides a way for Nursing Home Medicaid and Medicaid Waiver applicants who have income over Medicaid’s limit to become income-eligible for Medicaid long-term care and other long-term home-based care services.
Unlike many traditional trusts where assets being placed within it are for asset preservation, please note that the purpose of the Miller Trust is not to protect your assets – it is to protect your income eligibility for Medicaid. On a monthly basis, all of the monies put in the trust along with additional income not apportioned for health insurance premiums/spousal diversion/personal needs allowance will go toward your Medicaid cost-share towards your long-term care costs as well as any other allowable costs including medical bills not covered by Medicaid or Medicare premiums. I often explain Medicaid as being similar to Gap Insurance. If you are in a $10,000.00 a month facility and your cost-share only totals $1,500.00, then the Medicaid program will pay the gap between your cost-share amount and the total amount to receive care at the facility. As you can imagine, this means that Medicaid pays for most of the long-term care costs, while patients are responsible for a small share as well.
Our clients always feel a sense of relief and surprise when they think they will not qualify for long-term care benefits due to their monthly income, and we tell them about a Miller Trust and make it part of their estate plans. If you would like to discuss setting up a Miller Trust to qualify for Medicaid long-term care benefits, give my office a call at 404-370-0696 and let us help you receive the benefits you need without compromising your income.