Private insurance, medicare, and property.

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My mother has privare insurance as primary, medicare secondary. She also owns two homes. One is unencumbered and she took out a reverse mtg for a portion of eqity on her primary residence. She has income and savings as well. A friend advised me that Mom's assets needs to be taken out of her name or medicare will take eveything if she has to go into a nursing home or assisted living. I've heard of that with medicaid but not medicare and didnt think that would be the case since she has income and good primary insurance. Is it true?


Medicare doesn't care what you own. It just cares if you've paid your premiums.

Medicaid is a needs-based program and it cares very much whether you qualify according to their asset and income rules. If your mother has to go into a care center, and can afford to pay out of her own assets, no problem. If she runs out of her own funds and needs to apply for Medicaid, they look at not only what she owns at that point in time but at financial transactions over the five years before she applies. So if she is going to get assets out of her name it must be done very carefully so as not to appear to be a gift.

Medicare does not pay for residential care. It pays for hospital stays and for care in "transitional care units" aka "rehab facilities" but only for a limited time. It does not cover assisted living or nursing homes.

If you are all pretty confident that mother's assets and income could pay for a care center for the rest of her life if needed, no need to take assets out of her name. If you are worried that she might someday need to apply for Medicaid, then any changes to asset ownership should carefully not be gifts. If you think Medicaid may be necessary someday, I think you should see an estate planner or an Elder Law attorney to arrange things in the most advantageous way.
BTW, assisted living with minimal services starts at about $3500 a month in this state. The "average" nursing home cost here is $6000 per month. Look up these figures for your state to get some idea of whether Mother's income will cover this indefinitely and/or how long her savings and assets would last.

Of course it makes a great deal of difference whether your mother is 76 or 93. Do the math and see how confident you can be that her money will last the rest of her life, even if she needs a care center.
Thank you both for your help. Ive been sole caretaker of my momfor over three years now but her borderline personality disorder and dementia setting in are making it nearly impossible for me to continue caring for her. Sometimes just dont know where to turn for help. Lord knows my brothers refuse to get involved and i dont blame them because of the way she has treated us. Thanks again.
Even if she goes into a "home" you are not off the hook, but it's a good start to getting your sanity back. I admire that you were able to hang in there for three years. That's a looooong time. No way in heck I could've handled my mom for that long. I made it four months and that was enough. I love her, but living together, no, no and no!

It's great if mom has the funds to pay for an AL. They are extremely expensive. My parents were in no way rich, but socked away the money for retirement. I have about a year until I have to deal with the 'look back' stuff. Not looking forward to it at all.

I also have a brother that, unfortunately, lives in Europe. He really doesn't understand how stressful this is for me. Oh well. It is what it is.

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