MassHealth Asset Limits
To qualify for MassHealth (Medicaid in Massachusetts) for long-term care coverage the applicant can only have $2,000 in their name. The ‘community spouse,’ the healthy spouse still living in the community, can keep $115,920 in their name. This is called the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA).
Protections for the Community Spouse
The Community Spouse is allowed unlimited income, while the income of the spouse in need of care will typically go toward nursing care costs with MassHealth paying the remaining balance. However, if the Community Spouse’s income is not high enough to support their needs it is possible to have some or all of the cared for spouse diverted to the Community Spouse. This is based on a set Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMNA). In 2013, the MMNA minimum is $1,891.25 and maximum is $2,898.
MassHealth Transfer Penalties
According to the state of Massachusetts, the average monthly cost of nursing home care is $279/day (about $8,370 a month). If a disqualifying transfer takes place within 5 years of application for MassHealth benefits, the amount transferred will be divided by the average daily cost ($279) and this is how many days the applicant will be ineligible for MassHealth benefits. For a $10,000 transfer, a senior would be ineligible for MassHealth for 36 days starting on the day they are otherwise eligible (ie have applied).
Certain exceptions to these rules may apply on a case by case basis. To determine how you should best proceed with a MassHealth application or how to plan ahead for MassHealth eligibility, contact an elder law attorney today.