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I believe my mother will have to go to a NH in the very near future. She basically meets Medicare requirements except for her bank account which is modest but is also a joint account in my name and hers. So, does Medicare consider the entire sum to be hers or is it apportioned equally since it is in 2 names?

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I’m sorry to hear of your mom’s decline.

When contemplating or anticipating application for Medicaid there are several important areas to pay attention to:

1. Make sure you have proper documents in place - You will not be able to assist your mother when she in incapacitated unless you have a well written Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Surrogate Designation in place or, a Revocable Living Trust with assets actually titled into the name of the trust.

2. Income and Asset limits - In Florida, the Medicaid eligibility limits are $2,000 in assets and $2,130 per month in income. Accounts in joint name are considered to be 100% owned by the applicant unless it can be proved that the joint holder contributed to the account. If at the time of application mom is substantially over either of these limits the situation can be cured without wantonly “spending down”. The goal of proper Medicaid financial planning is to preserve assets for the benefit of the elder while they are receiving benefits. You can do a search or visit my website for more information on countable vs. non-countable assets.

3. Remaining assets at the demise of the Medicaid recipient - Florida has a Medicaid Estate Recovery Program whereby the state will make claim to any assets owned by the Medicaid recipient that are subject to probate. The goal, therefore, is to make sure any assets (including real property) are not subject to probate. Assets in a living trust and bank accounts and real property properly titled will avoid probate as will IRA's and insurance policies as long as the beneficiaries named are real persons.

You may wish to investigate Medicaid sooner rather than later as mom may be eligible for home and community based services. If she is the surviving spouse of an eligible veteran she may also qualify for funds to assist her at home.
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I'm wondering if you mean Medicaid? Medicare doesn't care who has what bank account with whom. If your mom goes into a NH Medicare will drop her eventually and this is where Medicaid comes in. If you apply for Medicaid they will look at all accounts with your mom's name. If you start rearranging accounts and money they will see that you have done this as well although it may have no bearing on her Medicaid application, depending on how much money is involved. Spend down is different for each state. My dad was just approved for Medicaid and his monthly spend down is $2,0xx (I can't remember exactly). If your mom will need a NH in the very near future there are ways to spend down prior to her admission to a NH. Purchasing a funeral package (services, burial plot, headstone, etc) is an acceptable spend down according to Medicaid. Or you can start hiring professional help to spend down. I would suggest going to your state's Medicaid website.

P.S. When we applied for Medicaid for my dad they looked at his bank account that had my brother's name on it but not MY bank account which had HIS name on it.
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if were forced to spend down mom and i are gonna jump on the trike and go on the bender to end all benders. we'll go everywhere but marion indiana. they will throw your ass in jail.. buzzkills..
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Medicaid will consider accounts that have your mother's name on it as her money when it comes to application. If you were a spouse, there would be division. Many elders have their children's names on their accounts, so that the children can take care of their finances, but the money is still seen as belonging to the parent during Medicaid application.
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