Approximately 50% of all Americans who reside in nursing homes receive assistance from Medicaid to pay for their care. This is not surprising, given the extraordinarily high cost of long-term care. The real surprise is that half of all Americans don’t seek Medicaid assistance to cover nursing home costs. Why not?
Perhaps the biggest reason is the preponderance of misinformation about Medicaid, the cost of long-term care, and how to pay for it. Here are just a few examples of the myths surrounding the use of Medicaid to pay for nursing home care:
- The healthy spouse will be kicked out of the family home when the spouse requiring care moves to a nursing home
- The government will take all of the family’s assets
- You’ll have to live in an old, dilapidated facility
- You’ll receive inadequate care, or no care at all
Myths like these often come from well-meaning family members, friends, and neighbors. While none of them are true, many people believe that they are.
Sometimes misinformation is spread by people we assume to be knowledgeable about the subject—nursing home intake staff, caregivers, physicians, nurses, and social workers. They might tell you, for instance, that you are too wealthy to receive assistance from Medicaid. Or that once you have moved to a nursing home it’s too late to obtain Medicaid assistance to pay for your care. Again, these folks mean well, but their information is often outdated or simply inaccurate. The fact is Medicaid planning is complicated and the rules governing eligibility for various programs are constantly changing. Even attorneys who do not focus on this area of the law may be a source of inaccurate information.
Don’t let misinformation prevent you from getting the financial assistance you need. Speak to an attorney with extensive experience in helping families obtain Medicaid assistance to pay for nursing home care.