How can I find out how much Medicaid is paying?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How can I find out how much Medicaid is paying for my father's care? I tried to ask the nursing home and Medicaid, but no one could or would tell me. I was trying to find out in regards to the Estate Recovery process. My father is currently living in the nursing home and my mother is recently deceased. I have been caring for the for the past two years. They willed their home to us, and that was their wish for it to go to us, but I heard Medicaid will take the house in the event that my father passes. What is the Estate Recovery process, and is there any way to save the home from Medicaid? Can the property be transferred to the one or all the adult children, without affecting his Medicaid eligibility? Can I qualify for a Medicaid waiver with regards to the recovery payment, due to hardship? I am unemployed due to the economy, plant closer and caregiving.

Expert Answers

Normally, after your father passes away, Medicaid would have the right to be reimbursed for everything it has spent to care for him in a nursing home. Medicaid could seek that reimbursement out of the value of the house, with the remainder of the value of house going to your father's heirs. However, a special Medicaid rule may permit your father to transfer the house to you and allow you to keep the full value of the house -- with no Medicaid reimbursement -- after your father passes away. This rule covers an adult child who spends at least two years living in the house and taking care of the parent, if the parent would have needed nursing home care without that caretaking. This rule only protects the adult child who actually lived in the house and cared for the parent. If the house is transferred or passes by will to all the adult children, this rule would only protect the share of the adult child who was the in-home caretaker. If the house is transferred solely that that adult child, the entire value of the house is protected from Medicaid reimbursement. Then that adult child and other brothers and sisters could decide among themselves how to divide up the value of the property.

If you believe you might qualify for this two-year caretaking exemption, you should start documenting it immediately. Sworn, notarized statements by your father, the other adult children, and any other family members, friends or neighbors with personal knowledge of the situation would be helpful. These statements should indicate the time-span you lived with your father, the care you provided, and his physical condition which would have required him to move to a nursing home without your caregiving. You should also be able to produce other documentation -- driver's license and other such evidence -- that the house was your actual residence during those two years.

Because there is so much riding on your ability to qualify for this exemption, it may be worth the time, effort and money for you to consult with a lawyer where you live who is familiar with Medicaid rules. An experienced Medicaid lawyer can help you assemble the documents and other evidence to prove your claim, as well as to help you draw up the document that transfers the house to you.