Medicaid is the governmental program that pays for long-term care, for those who qualify through three tests: Medical Need Qualification, Income Tests, and Asset Tests. This is different than Medicare, which is available to all seniors once they reach the eligibility age of 65. Medicare will not cover long-term care costs; it is limited to hospital and medical costs that it associates with improvement or rehabilitation, not nursing home or maintenance costs.
For Medicaid qualification in Oklahoma, the rules are a bit complex, but I will try to simplify them as much as possible. The medical need qualification is based on a person’s need for care because he or she is not able to meet his or her own care standards. If someone must go into a nursing home, this is generally met.
The second test is the Income Test. Simply put, if an individual has more than $3,000, then he or she does not qualify, but this can be rearranged with proper planning.
The last test is the Asset Test. If the person is a single individual, then he or she is typically limited to $2,000 in countable assets. If there is a healthy spouse that does not need nursing home care, then there are exemptions for the spouse between $25,000 and $113,640. If the individual tries to shift assets from his or her name, then Medicaid eligibility is delayed one day for every $132.85 transferred within the previous five years.
There is no way that I can give a full detail of the laws that go with Medicaid qualification in a short update, but if you are an individual (or know of an individual) that anticipates long-term care costs to be a major factor in your estate, then I highly recommend you contact a qualified elderlaw attorney, such as myself, to learn how to protect your legacy for your children and grandchildren.