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Medicaid, Nursing Home Costs, and the Rumor Mill

One-half 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. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most common can be summed up in a single word: hearsay. Or, if you prefer, the rumor mill. 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
  • The government will take all of your assets
  • You’ll have to live in an old, dilapidated facility
  • You’ll receive inadequate care, or no care at all

Rumors like these often come from well-meaning family members, friends, and neighbors. While none of them are true, many people believe that they are.

Rumors also spread by people we assume to be knowledgeable about the subject—nursing home intake staff, caregivers, doctors, 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 you can no longer obtain Medicaid assistance to pay for your care. Again, these folks may mean well, but their information is often outdated or simply inaccurate.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 change constantly. Even lawyers who do not focus on this area of the law may be a source of inaccurate information.

Don’t let rumors and misinformation prevent you from getting the financial assistance you need. Speak with an attorney who helps families obtain Medicaid assistance to pay for nursing home care on a daily basis.

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