Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living?

Antony Lee Turbeville

November 16, 2022

Antony Lee Turbeville

Medicaid pays for long-term care. However, you have to meet certain eligibility requirements to be eligible. For example, you cannot have more than $16,000 in assets. This includes bank accounts, annuities, and the cash value of life insurance policies. In exchange, Medicaid pays for aides in your home. If you die, Medicaid will seek to recoup some of its costs from your estate. An elder law attorney can help you devise strategies to avoid this.

Community Medicaid may pay for assisted living in New York

Assisted living in New York is often covered by community Medicaid, a state program that offers financial aid to eligible individuals who are unable to care for themselves. The program is means-tested, and applicants must be age 65 or older and have a disability. These individuals are also required to demonstrate an established need for assisted living services.

Although Medicaid pays for most services, it does not pay for room and board. SSI, an income-based program that supports low-income individuals, covers a portion of room and board costs. Those who do not qualify for SSI may have to pay the remaining cost privately. Assisted living in New York is available to people who cannot afford to live on their own, but most people who participate in the program qualify for Medicaid.

The maximum asset limit under Medicaid is $15,900 for a single applicant and $21,400 for married couples. If an individual has assets that exceed this amount, they can “spend down” their assets by transferring assets to another person or trust. Once these assets are transferred, the individual will become eligible for Community Medicaid benefits.

The look-back period for Community Medicaid in New York is changing. Starting in October 2020, all transfers made within 30 months of the application will be scrutinized. Additionally, it is unclear whether the new rule will be phased in or whether all transfers made before that date will be reviewed. The new rule also has the potential to affect current Medicaid recipients, so applicants must carefully plan and understand the changes before applying.